"Melek. Means angel."

An Iraqi refugee girl, 2, passing through Macedonia with her mother and father. Photographer: Katerina Ilievska

Outside the refugee site at the Macedonian border, a small family kneels by a parking lot. I ask the mother if they can use a few bags of gummy bears and wet wipes.

"Oh, I need this. Thank you much!" she says, opening the wet wipes.

"Where are you from?" I ask.

"Iraq," the dad answers. "Baghdad. We travel long time."

I give the little girl a soft squeeze.

He tells me her name: "Melek. Means angel."

I ask why they left Iraq.

"It's very bad. Car bombs every day. You leave home, you don't know if you come back. Now, they take your children and ask for money. It's big thing in Baghdad now. We had to run. My daughter – my life."

I learn that they've been on the road for months.

"Where you work?" he asks, seeing my t-shirt.

I explain that SOS Children's Villages helps refugee children and their families.

"How great! For children..." he says, then adds: "Many coming.”


Story told by Katerina Ilievska, a correspondent for SOS Children's Villages International
Published 16 September 2015


Read another child refugee's story.

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