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Watch: Refugee children express their hopes and dreams in the heart-wrenching ‘Dream Diaries’

‘I would go back and kiss everything, really everything, also the bananas and the watermelons.’

Eleven-year-old Shoaib gave up his home in Afghanistan, but one thing remains with him – football. “Soccer is everything. I wish I could be the best soccer player in the world,” he says, in the video above.

Similarly, 15-year-old Amr, a refugee from Syria, dreams of being a reporter so he can tell the world the truth. Bishara, a 14-year-old from Somalia, wants to become a doctor to help people, while 10-year-old Ghazel simply wants to go to the moon and touch the clouds.

They are only a few of the millions of refugee children across the world, but The Dream Diaries, an online series (video above) by UNHCR, and social media influencers Humans of Amsterdam and Fetching_Tigerss, captures the hopes and dreams of a few refugee children who have found safety and new lives in Europe, to send out a message of hope.

“When children flee their home countries, they leave everything behind, except their hopes and dreams,” said Debra Barraud, co-creator of The Dream Diaries, and owner of the Humans of Amsterdam.

So Barraud, her colleague Benjamin Heertje, Annegien Schilling, who runs Fetching_Tigerss, and film-maker Kris Pouw set out on a 7,000-kilometre journey across Europe over the course of 16 days, to meet 12 refugee children. Their aim was not just to document their hopes and dreams in the film, but to create an image at the end of the project that symbolised their realisation.

“The general tone of pictures of people who are refugees is very sad and hopeless and almost depressing. I thought it was interesting that we created pictures that gave people hope,” said Schilling. One of the shots depicts Ayham, an eight-year-old who fled Syria, as a superhero, with lightning bolts pulsing from his fingers.

“I want to become a superhero so I don’t have to be afraid any more,” Ayham had told the Dream Diaries team. “I would end the fighting in Syria and then I would go back and kiss everything, really everything, also the bananas and the watermelons.”

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