After a tumultuous year, these tales of kindness are sure to warm your heart.

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© UNHCR/Pablo Villagran

When historians look back on 2020, they will remember a difficult year — from the COVID-19 pandemic to the devastating Beirut explosion and the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. At a time marked by these and other immense challenges, UNHCR maintained our presence on the ground working with our partners to providing life-saving aid to displaced people and support to host communities. While doing so, we also witnessed some incredible moments of kindness and solidarity.

1) Caring teacher fundraises for families in Ethiopia


Join UNHCR Canada as we reflect on the making of our free e-cookbook and catch up with the refugees and contributors who inspired the project.

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Tareq Hadhad with his family in Nova Scotia. © UNHCR / Darren Calabrese

It’s been a few weeks since UNHCR Canada, the UN Refugee Agency, published our first ever e-cookbook, “Tastes from Home: Recipes from the Refugee Community”. The outpouring of support we’ve seen from Canadians, advocates and refugees from around the world has been incredible — and the team at UNHCR Canada was honoured to work with all the contributors in the cookbook.


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© UNHCR/Jimmy Jeong

Around the world, displaced and host communities have come together to show acts of kindness to one another. And right here in Canada, newly resettled refugees and Canadian sponsors are supporting each other in so many ways.

Refugees and displaced communities have drastically different experiences: many are displaced inside their countries, others have crossed seas and borders to find safety and some have been resettled in Canada. What unites them are acts of kindness they have exchanged along their journey. Here are five heartwarming stories about refugees, host communities and Canadians embracing the spirit of kindness.

Ripples of kindness across decades in Canada

Forty years ago, Father Gauthier, a priest at a church near Edmonton, Alberta asked for volunteers to help sponsor a family of Vietnamese refugees. Though Vicky and Leona were two busy young mothers with children of their own, they didn’t…


Across the world, refugee grandmothers and grandfathers are overcoming adversity while caring for their families and one another.

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Mona and Kaj are Finnish pensioners who have assumed the role of grandparents for 3-year-old Diana, a refugee from Iraq who arrived on the Finnish island of Nagu in 2015. Diana and her father, Azaldeen, fled Iraq after her mother was abducted. © UNHCR/Max-Michel Kolijn

When conflict, violence or war forces refugee families from their countries, seniors are at particular risk of abuse and neglect. Already battling mobility issues and chronic illnesses, being a refugee is another burden which only makes them more vulnerable. Despite their struggles, refugee grandmothers and grandfathers go above and beyond to care for their families. Here are five incredible stories of grandparents from around the world looking after their loved ones and newcomers to their communities.

“Grandpa’s House” becomes a warm home for elderly Venezuelan refugees

Morato, a 75-year-old painter, spends his days creating murals on the walls of Grandpa’s House, a care centre for seniors in Colombia. The…


Recognizing the incredible journeys of displaced lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex refugees and asylum-seekers.

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© UNHCR/ Elizabet Diaz Sanmartin

Nobody should be forced to flee their home for being who they are or loving who they love. But LGBTQ refugees can — and often do — seek safety and protection because they fear being persecuted based on the sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics. To celebrate the strength and resilience of displaced persons who have sacrificed so much to embrace their true selves, here are five stories about LGBTQ refugees in Canada and beyond.

A hidden life: LGBTQ and displaced people on the frontline of Ukraine conflict


Acknowledging the bravery and strength of refugee fathers, uncles, brothers, grandfathers and loved ones.

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Abdelsalam and his family fled brutal fighting in his homeland of Syria and now call Lebanon home. ©UNHCR/Hannah Maule-ffinch

By Hannah Scott

“My advice to the men out there is to love your families:” Valens finds safety for his wife and children


“We Have Always Been Here” explores life as a child refugee in Canada, and the challenges she faces as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

By Hannah Scott

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Celebrating the devotion and perseverance of refugee mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and loved ones

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Venezuelan refugee Vanis and her one-month old baby Luanna in their new home in Brasilia. © UNHCR/ Alan Azevedo

Eighty per cent of all refugees are women or children, and 61 per cent of refugee homes are headed by females. Behind these statistics are millions of refugee women and girls who demonstrate incredible strength and resilience. Being a mother is no easy feat, and refugee mothers face extraordinary circumstances as they flee war, conflict and persecution while caring for loved ones.


Imagining the lives of refugees around the world during the holy month of Ramadan

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© UNHCR

By Lynn Al Nasser


Learn how refugees around the world are helping in the global fight against climate change

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Sahra Ismael Elade, an internally displaced woman in Somaliland, with her daughter and grandchild. The family was forced to move after losing most of their livestock because of severe drought. © UNHCR/Mustafa Saeed

Climate change and natural disasters can contribute to — or worsen — threats faced by refugees who have been uprooted due to conflict, poverty or persecution. With climate-related displacement already a reality, UNHCR is taking action to help those affected.

UNHCR Canada

The UN Refugee Agency in Canada is dedicated to providing life-saving support to refugees, displaced and stateless people.

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