Despair and devastation ring loud in headlines defined by the hopelessness and loss felt by millions everywhere. The weight of those words is heavy, and the futures of many communities seem uncertain at best. But brave individuals are rewriting their story. Theirs is not a story of hopelessness and loss, but one of optimism and strength. Utkarsh Ambudkar, actor, musician and writer; Samer Saliba, urban advisor for the International Rescue Committee; Amal Kassir, Syrian-American poet; and Amaani Yahya, Yemeni rapper, rip words directly from these headlines and use them to reframe the narrative.

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80 million sets of footsteps

Fleeing through unforgiving soil


Sirens blare, bombs explode Family homes reduced

To piles of ash and clouds of smoke

And with them, any sense of stability Parents yearning for the ability

To hold their child and say, 'We are safe, we are home.'


Displaced by war, conflict, and calamity

Famine advances rapidly

Disease devastates communities

Millions striving to survive


And more headlines blur by

Just more blips on a smartphone

Graphics on a news scroll

Segments as the news drones

On and on

Millions of stories untold

Millions of futures on hold

They vanish as the noise grows


But displaced is not disheartened

Displaced is not forgotten

Displaced is not an ending

For these millions carry on

With an unstoppable will

A drive to rebuild

For their





And with Rescue by their side,

They’re rewriting their own stories


Stories of a safe place to lay one’s head

Free from violence in a new land

Where a warm welcome and a kind hand

Can stop someone’s world from shaking


Fleeing families reunited, stops the heart from aching

New home, new hope


Stories of education

That is building a foundation

For millions of children


School provides the lessons

Inspires imagination

Preparation for the world they’ll inherit

So they can make it their own


Stories of clean water,

Health care and good doctors

Supplies and mental health providers

Turn patient to survivor


Stories of establishing economic stability

Dollars in the billfold

Jobs beyond the war zone

Training and career paths

A new life to build toward


Stories of empowerment

For those whose futures were in jeopardy

Making women and girls

The drivers of their own destiny

And that of their community


And this is only the beginning

Another headline scrolls by

The story is soon to be rewritten

By those we serve

They turn headlines to hope

And give the words new meaning"