Stories of Change

Noor and Farid in a vocational class

The Gift of Love and Friendship

Throughout our programs, around the world, love is always present regardless of any difficult situations our program participants may be experiencing. At our group homes for young refugees in Indonesia, there is a kind of love that is fully alive: the love of friendship. This Valentine’s Day we are celebrating two young boys whose profound love for one another has made them like brothers and brought joy into their lives.

In 2019, 10-year-old Noor and 12-year-old Farid arrived at one of our group homes run through our program for unaccompanied refugee youth known as PURE*. Noor and Farid are both from Afghanistan and due to their shared experiences, they bonded quickly. Noor and Farid are now 14 and 16 and have become inseparable over the past four years.

Since Farid is two years older than Noor, he has also taken up the role of a big brother for Noor and enjoys looking out for him, giving him advice and being a reliable shoulder to lean on. Every day Noor and Farid like to partake in all activities together. They participate in the same cooking and chore group, play games together, work out and play sports together, study together and go to classes together. If you see Noor, chances are you’ll also see Farid. The two are just like two peas in a pod.

As young refugees from a country that has been devastated by war and violence, Noor and Farid have experienced more hardship than any child should ever have to experience. Despite the challenges life has thrown at them, however, the two boys have discovered one of the greatest gift life has to offer: friendship and love for one another.

*PURE which stands for, “Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment” is a CWS-run program in Jakarta, Indonesia, that helps unaccompanied refugee youth and asylum seekers navigate life in their new home. The program provides shelter and community and offers classes and vocational training to teach the youth life skills and help them develop a stable livelihood.

Note: Photo has been blurred and pseudonyms have been used in this story to protect the safety and identity of minors