Former child refugee is reunited with the kind aid worker

Former child refugee, 29, is reunited with the kind aid worker who bought her a bike when she was living in a camp two decades ago – just a day after her plea to find him went viral

  • Mevan Babbakar, 29, who now lives in London, fled Iraq with her Kurdish parents 
  • During the Gulf war in the early nineties, she spent a year at Dutch refugee camp
  • Aged five, she struck up a friendship with kind aid worker who bought her a bike
  • A day after she asked Twitter to track him down, she was reunited with him

A former child refugee has found the kind man who gifted her with a bike more than two decades ago, remembering how the act ‘filled her former 5-year-old self with joy’, while she coped with living in a Dutch camp during the nineties.

Mevan Babbakar, 29, a tech worker who now lives in London, fled Iraq with her Kurdish parents during the Gulf war in the early nineties, spending a year at a camp in Zwolle, the Netherlands, in 1994.

During her time at the camp, she met an aid worker, who spent his own money to buy her and her mother a farewell gift when they left the dwelling.

Recalling his act of kindness yesterday, Mevan took to Twitter with a picture of the unnamed man, hoping to track him down and thank him. Remarkably, it took just a day for him to be found, much to Mevan’s joy.  

Mevan Babbakar, 29, who now lives in London, fled Iraq with her Kurdish parents during the Gulf war in the early nineties, spending a year at a camp in Zwolle, the Netherlands, in 1994

During her time at the camp, she met an aid worker, who spent his own money to buy her and her mother a farewell gift when they left the dwelling (pictured)

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, Mevan shared a picture of the man – whose name she could not remember, and asked for her Dutch followers to help her find him.

She wrote: ‘Hi internet, this is a longshot BUT I was a refugee for 5 yrs in the 90s and this man, who worked at a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands, out of the kindness of his own heart bought me a bike. 

‘My five year old heart exploded with joy. I just want to know his name. Help?’.

Within hours the tweet had racked up 15,00 likes, retweets and comments, with followers keen to help track him down. 

Recalling his act of kindness yesterday, Mevan took to Twitter with a picture of the unnamed man, hoping to track him down and thank him.

During her time at the camp, pictured, she met an aid worker, who spent his own money to buy her and her mother a farewell gift when they left the dwelling

The search gained further traction when it was picked up by a Dutch news station, and today – just a day later – Mevan revealed she had found the kind man. 

She tweeted: ‘We found him! After 3000 RTs, 3 news articles, 1 video and thousands of wonderful messages from around the world, we made contact with the family! Guys, I knew the internet was great but this is something else.’

Mevan, who also spent time in Russia with her family before they moved to England, then revealed she would be meeting him later that day, tweeting: ‘Later today, 24 years later, I get to meet him in person!’.

The search gained further traction when it was picked up by a Dutch news station

She then referred to her time growing up in the camp, adding: ‘How often do you hear that a refugee camp has good memories too? Of course it can be filled with horrors but for me it was also the first real safety we had, the first place I could actually just be a child.’

She added: ‘More than anything children growing up as refugees need patience, love, reassurance that they are safe and opportunities to grow beyond what they’ve been through. To be honest, what child doesn’t need this? We should be striving to provide that for everyone.

Revealing how another former aid worker at the camp named Sandra, who taught her how to use a computer, had got back in touch, she added: More so than anything I remember these small kindnesses growing up, they helped shape me.’ 

Today just a day later – Mevan revealed she had found the kind man, tweeting: ‘We found him! After 3000 RTs, 3 news articles, 1 video and thousands of wonderful messages from around the world, we made contact with the family!’

Revealing how another former aid worker at the camp named Sandra, who taught her how to use a computer, had got back in touch, she added: More so than anything I remember these small kindnesses growing up, they helped shape me.’

Mevan later revealed she was looking for the  perfect card to give the aid worker on meeting him, jokingly sharing a picture of a woman on a bike.

And followers were delighted with the happy ending, with one tweeting: ‘Mevan, my heart is full.

‘One can feel helpless reading news of all the refugees struggling. It’s rare that we learn of, not only a positive outcome for an individual, but also proof how one act of kindness resonates thru the lives of others.’

Another added: ‘One small act of kindness made a last impact on this woman’s life. Be the difference, be kind, be the sort of person who a child can remember when they are grown. Small acts of kindness are what will bring us all closer together.’

Mevan later revealed she was looking for the perfect card to give the aid worker on meeting him, jokingly sharing a picture of a woman on a bike

And followers were delighted with the happy ending, with one tweeting: ‘Mevan, my heart is full.

Another added: ‘One small act of kindness made a last impact on this woman’s life. Be the difference, be kind, be the sort of person who a child can remember when they are grown. Small acts of kindness are what will bring us all closer together.’

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