Farhad is 12, and lives with his parents and two brothers in the Krnjaca refugee camp, in Serbia. It houses more than 600 refugees.
Days in camp can feel hopeless, endless and uncertain - especially to a spirited 12-year-old, who has already been through so much.
But when Farhad heard about a project funded by Comic Relief, life changed for the better.
Farhad’s father fled Taliban control in Afghanistan as a young man, settling in Iran where he raised his family. After growing pressure against Afghans by the Iranian government, the young family was forced to move again.
They made a gruelling, year long journey to Europe by foot, boat and car.
They are one of many thousands of refugees stranded on the Balkan migration route to Europe.
The journey was long and fraught. Just crossing from Iran into Turkey took three attempts. It involved walking for more than 10 hours along a snowy mountainous path with around 200 other people.
After reaching Turkey, smugglers found the family space on a boat heading to Greece. It was laden down with people, water was lapping high at the sides and the passengers had to throw belongings into the water to stop it sinking.
Farhad was forced to discard his pencils and sketch paper, possessions that were very precious to him.
After nine months in Greece, they reached a Serbian refugee camp. They had dreamed of reaching Germany or Switzerland one day, but told the smugglers they just couldn't go any further.
Farhad is a very talented artist and, with the help of Comic Relief, his long journey from Afghanistan to Serbia has been animated using some of his drawings.
“Living in a refugee camp is very hard for everything. It's not any special feeling. There is not enough place for painting, not good food. We are all the same here.”
How has your money helped Farhad?
In the Krynjaca camp, Farhad heard about a project where young people could go and learn a little. It was run by the Refugee Foundation Serbia, and it is supported by Comic Relief via a grant to Help Refugees.
Farhad first visited the project at Christmas, and staff were sharing gifts with the children. Over time, the staff realised he had a great talent for art and gave him some colouring pencils and paper so he could draw once again.
They helped him learn the Serbian alphabet and English. The staff would occasionally take him and some other young people on day trips to the mountains or on a picnic.
“My friends told me there’s an organisation that helps refugees. They said you can learn something and you can spend your time there.”
“The staff gave me some paper and pencils to draw. I lost all of my stuff and when I got something I was happy. I can focus better when I’m drawing.”
“I want to be the best football player and painter in the world.”
Where does the money go?
Help Refugees is a grassroots organisation founded in September 2015 in response to the refugee crisis in Europe. We awarded them a 3 year grant in August 2018.
Currently, over 96% of their £2 million Comic Relief funding goes directly to 70+ projects helping refugees and asylum seekers.
We have also successfully advocated against governmental policies affecting the lives of unaccompanied refugee children across the continent with the introduction of the Dubs amendment, the legal breakthroughs in family reunification legislation.