Danijel Malbasa's Donor Story 

Danijel Malbasa, Australia for UNHCR Donor

When Danijel Malbasa fled from Croatia to Kosovo with his family as a child, it was UNHCR that provided them with the relief and support they desperately needed. Two decades later, Danijel ran ‘Run Melbourne with Team UNHCR’, helping the organisation that helped him and his family.

When did you first become interested in refugee issues?
I became a refugee with my family at the age of eight, when we fled the conflict in Croatia. We lived for five years in a refugee camp in Kosovo with 700 other refugees all fleeing the same thing. I can sympathise with displaced people in places like the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa attempting perilous journeys to Europe.

How did UNHCR help your family during that time?
They came to our camp and provided life-saving items like shelter, food, clothing and medicine. I know first-hand that donations made to Australia for UNHCR really do reach those in need. At the time I wasn’t old enough to understand what was going on, but I now realise what an impact UNHCR has had on me; I studied Arts and Law at university, and now work in law and social justice.

Why do you think it’s important to support refugees around the world?
Anyone can become a refugee; this is not a choice we make. More than half of all refugees under the protection of UNHCR are children. They suffer the most in conflicts and wars, which they don’t understand. As an international community we have a legal and a moral obligation to help. We have an obligation to help people until it is safe for them to return home, or if it is not safe, to offer them resettlement opportunities.

What would you say to someone who is considering becoming an Australia for UNHCR supporter?
When you support the work of UNHCR, you are making a significant contribution. It is very easy to lose hope, to think that the problem is too big and to forget the people behind the headlines. I think it’s important for people to feel like they can do something to assist refugees. Supporting Australia for UNHCR is a good way to do that.

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