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Amir's Blue Elephant

Amir’s Blue Elephant: A woman’s journey into the lives of Europe’s refugees.


Melissa Hekkers recounts her footsteps as she joins the journey of thousands of refugees seeking safety in Europe.

A glimpse into the largest humanitarian crisis of our time.

Author: Melissa Hekkers more info




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Melissa Hekkers recounts her footsteps as she joins the journey of thousands of refugees seeking safety in Europe.

Pushing the boundaries of creative non-fiction, Hekkers recreates the moments
that marked her the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus.

Told through the eyes of a woman struggling to understand the realities asylum seekers are thrown into, this is the story of people fighting for the fragile right to freedom and liberty, the right to life itself.

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From the infamous hosting facility of Moria to the darkest parts of cities in Cyprus, “Amir’s Blue Elephant” gives an insight to the hardships faced by refugees and migrants upon reaching European shores. Melissa’s experiences with refugees over time, shared in a clear and reader-friendly style, provide an opportunity to the most fortunate to reflect on what could and should be done to alleviate the loneliness of refugees in our midst; and most importantly to enable them to call their new countries a home. An antidote to the highly politicised and dehumanising discourse in our times.

Emilia Strovolidou  | UNHCR Cyprus


Before COVID-19, the refugee crisis was Europe’s most pressing problem since WWII. Its legacy may be longer lasting. In years to come, when children, who braved the Aegean Sea in plastic rafts, have become adults, and feel resentful about being rejected, they will remember the people they met on Greek island beaches, volunteers like Melissa Hekkers. And they will recall that, yes, there was a welcome, there was kindness. Amir’s Blue Elephant brought a smile to a child of the Syrian war. A smile he will hopefully remember for ever. Hekkers’ memoire is a very personal contribution to the early history of the 21st century.

Malcolm Brabant  | PBS NewsHour, Special Correspondent