These Beautiful Photos Show That It’s Possible To Find Hope In Tragedy

A powerful photo series from some of the worst humanitarian catastrophes around the world.

25/02/2016 9:17 AM AEDT | Updated 25/02/2016 9:17 AM AEDT
Newlyweds Ibrahim and Hauna John embrace in the Minawao camp for Nigerian refugees in Far North Region of Cameroon the day after their wedding in April 2015.

When Ibrahim and Hauna John got married in April in a Cameroon refugee camp it was a very happy ending to a harrowing journey. They had planned to wed in their village in northeast Nigeria, but when Boko Haram militants attacked they fled for their lives and the two were separated.

"It wasn't easy for me to be separated from the one I love," Ibrahim said, according to UNICEF, who shared the couple's love story as part of a 2015 series of photographs showing moments of hope and joy in even the most dire humanitarian situations. 

From South Sudanese refugees in Uganda to a group of Syrian children in Jordan, photographers captured the remarkable resilience of people who have been forced from their homes and devastated by conflict. The United Nations' refugee agency said last year that a record number of people have been forcibly displaced around the globe, and by the end of the year will likely exceed 60 million people.

The camp where Ibrahim and Hauna live, and plan to start a family, is home to nearly 50,000 refugees who fled Boko Haram attacks. Water, food and shelter are in short supply. The extremist group's campaign of violence in Nigeria and neighboring countries has forced over 2 million Nigerians to flee their homes. Some 90,000 Cameroonians have also been displaced by the militant group's attacks. 

"The very first day we met in the camp, I could not resist her. I had to hold her to my cheek," Ibrahim said. "Heaven was very close to me that day."

Scroll down for a look at other photos from the UNICEF series:

  • Jiro Ose/UNICEF
    Children watch their peers perform skits at Child Restoration Outreach, an organization in Uganda committed to reintegrating street children into society and rebuilding their lives to help families become self-reliant.
  • Ashley Gilbertson/VII Photo/UNICEF
    Holding her up towards the sky, a father plays with his daughter at a transit center for refugees and migrants in Sid, Serbia. The country is transit territory for refugees passing through to northern Europe.
  • Brian Sokol/UNICEF
    Kuisang Rumba, a famous Tamang language actor, dances with 9-year-old Jamuna Nepali at a UNICEF-supported Child Friendly Space in Charikot, Dolakha District, Nepal. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 8,000 people in Nepal on April 25, 2015, and destroyed massive amounts of property.
  • Jiro Ose/UNICEF
    Children from South Sudan play at a child-friendly space in a refugee settlement in Uganda. South Sudan's ongoing civil war erupted in late 2013, two years after it gained independence from Sudan. The crisis has already displaced more than 2.2 million people.
  • Lindsay Mackenzie/UNICEF
    Dunya, 13, displaced from Mosul, Iraq, opens a box of new winter shoes in her caravan in Baharka IDP Camp in Erbil Governorate. In Iraq, many displaced families are struggling to cope with the mounting frustrations of protracted displacement. Half of the displaced are children, who are particularly vulnerable to illness, exposure and fatality due to the cold.
  • Tomislav Georgiev/UNICEF
    Teenagers play in the sun at a reception center staffed by volunteers, interpreters and humanitarian aid agencies in Opatovac, Croatia. Refugee and migrant children continue to arrive in Europe in record numbers -- some traveling on their own. In 2015, more than 1 million migrants arrived in Europe, with the vast majority having crossed the Mediterranean Sea or Turkey.
  • Ashley Gilbertson/VII Photo/UNICEF
    Mohammed, 5, from Syria, sprays water on his sister and cousins in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp. The camp provides some electricity for residents to use at night, but during the day, the family uses water to combat the brutal temperatures. Over half of Syria's population has been displaced by years of civil war.
  • Ashley Gilbertson/VII Photo/UNICEF
    Syrian volunteer Kinan Kadouni, 26, carries a young Syrian boy moments after a boat landed on the coast of Lesbos, Greece. The Aegean Sea is especially dangerous in winter due to harsh storms. As a result of dehydration and the cold, many refugees need medical attention and aid.