Yao Chen visits Lebanon to raise awareness of refugees
Updated: 2014-05-22 15:45
Chinese actress and goodwill ambassador of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Yao Chen (R) visit Leganon. [Photo/Official Weibo of United Nations]
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In their small apartment in the settlement of Ras el-Ein, near the Lebanese city of Tyre, about 80 km south of the capital of Beirut, the Ibrahim family talked with Yao Chen, a popular Chinese actress who serves as goodwill ambassador of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
"What do you aspire to be when you grow up?" Yao, wearing a light grey headscarf in a casual style, asked each of Ibrahim and Shams' children.
Amal, 11 and first in her class at a second-shift school for refugees, told Yao she hoped to be a teacher. Mohammed, 16, said he was learning to be a car mechanic.
Their parents, originally from Syria's northwestern province of Aleppo, fled to Lebanon because they did not want them to grow up in the shadows of war. They traveled to Jordan from Latakia province in western Syria more than a year ago after surviving a siege that caused starvation in their area and left them with no food or water for three days.
The story of the Ibrahim family is all too common among the more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who had to abandon their country embroiled in a civil war, which was started by a crisis three years ago when anti-government protesters took to the streets calling for reforms. More than 150,000 people have been killed so far.
"One family is too many if it is ruined by a war," Yao wrote on China's twitter-like Weibo.