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Emma Thompson among celebrities to share their refugee stories for World Refugee Day

June 11, 2014
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Romola Garai, Kristin Davis, Emma Thompson and Emma Freuds are among the celebrities who have shared their refugee stories to support the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) initiative World Refugee Day on 20 June.

Actress Romola shared a photo of her great grandfather Bert, who fled from Hungary at the beginning of the century.

Romola Garai's grandfather Bert
Romola Garai's grandfather Bert

"The photo was taken in Hungary at the beginning of the century and before war and persecution exploded across Europe," Romola said.

"Bert crossed Europe, built a life in America but finally settled in England. He founded a business, Keystone Press Agency, that supplied images on Fleet Street to all the major newspapers. As the business grew they expanded to include offices in America, Paris and as far away as Brazil", she said. "As you can imagine, those left behind were not so lucky and war and persecution decimated the family. 

Businesses were lost, homes destroyed and, of course, many were murdered. But Bert was fortunate and I, his great-granddaughter, am a product both of his flight and of the society that nurtured him, and I feel tremendously proud of both", Romola added, before continuing: "I will be remembering him and his brothers and their families on World Refugee Day and thinking of every family that has, through war or persecution, been forced to flee their lives in search of a better future."

Other films come from celebrities such as Oscar winner Emma, who shared her experience of adopting her son, Tindy, in one of the short films put together by the UNHCR, while Malala Yousafzai – the Pakistani teen who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls’ right to education – spoke about a girl she met in Jordan.

Sex and the City star Kristin also met a brave young girl while visiting refugee camps in Kenya. 

"My story for UNHCR’s World Refugee Day storytelling project is about the remarkable and brave Haiwa, who moved and inspired me when I visited Dadaab refugee camp," said Kristin, before revealing: "So often refugees are portrayed as victims, but she taught me about the incredible strength they possess. I will never forget her."

Broadcaster Emma Freud told HELLO!: "I am a 2nd generation refugee and was pleased when UNHCR asked me to share my family’s refugee story to mark World Refugee Day. I think we all have a view of what a Refugee is - but the term covers so many different stories and backgrounds.

Refugee backgrounds are an invisible thread that connects many of us without knowing."

All the films will be released on Wednesday at

Emma Thompson wants you to get to know her son Tindy's story for World Refugee Day 2015 (Part 1)
Kristin Davis tells Dadaab refugee story

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