Former child refugee tracks down ‘bike gift’ man

Mevan Babakar

A former child refugee trying to trace a "generous" camp worker who bought her a bike has made contact with him after her story went viral on social media.

Mevan Babakar, 29, lived in a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands during the 1990s.

After posting a photo of him on Twitter her message was retweeted 3,000 times helping her to find the man — only known as "Ab" — in a matter of hours.

Ms Babakar, who now lives in London, will meet him on Tuesday evening.

Asked on Twitter what she would do if she found her benefactor, she replied: "Honestly I’d cry my eyes out."

She told the BBC that her benefactor now lives in Germany.

Skip Twitter post by @MeAndVan

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? pic.twitter.com/XzUgHzllYb

— Mevan | میڤان (@MeAndVan) August 12, 2019

Ms Babakar and her parents, who are Kurdish, fled Iraq during the first Gulf War, travelling through Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Russia before spending a year at the camp near Zwolle between 1994 and 1995.

The family eventually settled in London.

"There was so much hardship at that point in our lives and this was such a generous act, it taught me kindness can exist everywhere, no matter how terrible it may seem," she said.

As well as buying her a "red, shiny bike" at a time when gifts were out of the question for her, he also provided one for her mother and invited the family to spend one Christmas with him and his family at their home.

Ms Babakar has taken a sabbatical from work to retrace her refugee journey and is in Zwolle carrying out research.

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Article source: “https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-49334307”

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