A Little Boy Who Could

John O'Leary

John O'Leary

Inspiring Story of Overcoming Challenges

Refugee Boy

An Invitation to Reach Beyond Your Circumstances

"Numbers have life, they are not just symbols on paper." - Shakuntala Devi

My friend, the plight of the refugee is both timely and timeless. Often when covered in the news, headlines focus on the sheer number of refugees.


  • 68.5 Million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes worldwide.
  • 44,400 people are forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution every day.
  • 10 million stateless people have neither nationality nor access to basic rights.

These numbers are so vast, they can be hard to relate to and even dehumanizing.

So, let's change that. I'd like to introduce you to a little boy named Abed Hadi.

Abed's life was interrupted and shattered. First, when many of his fellow villagers were killed. Then, when his family was moved to a refugee camp. Once there, he had no opportunity to attend school and his father had no opportunity for employment. There was no reason for optimism or to strive forward. There was no future.

And yet, that's not where Abed's story ends. Far from it.

Abed’s Story Puts a Face to the Plight of Refugees

Little Abed had a mighty, inextinguishable hope burning deep within him. In fact, his hope drove not only him but his descendants to an inspired life.

And his story will inspire you to reach beyond your current circumstance to something higher.

If you are like me and could better understand the plight of individual refugees in our world today, please take a minute to listen to my eye-opening and surprisingly heart-warming conversation about the life of Abed, the little boy who could. (Check out the podcast episode here.)

Through our conversation, I learned four things:

  1. While I could never fully understand, it was profound to hear about the complicated dynamics that exist for some refugee families intergenerationally while recreating their life- finding shelter and employment - in the wake of displacement and what that looks and feels like on a daily basis.
  2. Empathy is about trying to understand people from within their circumstances, not mine. [Share on Facebook.] | [Tweet this.]
  3. Without hope, it is impossible to go anywhere.
  4. Just as in last week's Monday Motivation blog about mental health, I am reminded that the best way to grow as a person and to build community is to have courageous conversations with people who have different experiences than my own.

Remember, numbers have life. They are not just symbols on paper.

To book John O'Leary for your next event, visit his profile: https://premierespeakers.com/john_oleary

John’s most recent book title is On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life. To order copies in bulk for your event, please visit BulkBooks.com.

Share in the comments below what you learned through this conversation!

What is a topic you could be better educated on in order to strengthen your understanding, character, community, and world? Let us know in the comments or by emailing podcast@johnolearyinspires.com so we can continue to have these important conversations on our show. 

Think beyond the headlines. Today is your day. Live Inspired.

A Little Boy Who Could appeared first on John O'Leary.

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