Today is World Refugee Day.

According to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), “World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.”

I had the opportunity to meet many of these brave individuals when I was in Lebanon a few months ago. None of them, though, affected me as much as one particular family. This family opened their home to me, they fed me, they helped me in any way they could. They were humble when confronted with prejudice by their neighbors, and were optimistic in the face of severe uncertainty. Today, my thoughts are with this family and their struggles.

Below is a photo of the family’s oldest daughter, Dareen. The happiness, joy, and intelligence evident in this photo is only a fraction of what emanates from her in real life. Dareen reminds me that amid such a disaster as we are witnessing today in Syria, there still remains hope.