- Date of Birth:
- January 1, 1900
Dr. Refaai Hamo (born 1960 in Afreen, Syria) is a Syrian refugee currently living in Detroit, Michigan. The song of a farmer and a housewife, Refaai was raised on his family’s farm in Afreen. He graduated from high school with the third highest grades in all of Syria. He worked construction jobs at night to pay his college tuition bills. After graduating at the top of his class, he was given a scholarship to pursue his PhD. He married his college sweetheart. In 2013, Refaai and his family were caught up in the Syrian civil war. A missile, filled with 116 small bombs, hit Refaai’s home. Seven member of his family, including his wife and one of his daughters, were slaughtered in the attack. Refaai and his remaining family fled for Turkey, but while in the country, he couldn’t make a living without a residence permit. During his stay in Turkey, Refaai was diagnosed with stomach cancer. After two years in the country, he received refugee status and was eligible to relocate to the Detroit suburb of Troy, Michigan. Refaai’s story was featured on the popular photography blog, Humans Of New York, which detailed his struggles. He was one of the many guests invited by Michelle Obama to attend President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address in Jan. 2016.
Best Known For:
Dr. Refaai Hamo is best known as a scientist and refugee from the Syrian war.
Refaai lives with his son, Mohammad, and daughters Runahi, Riham and Rama. Refaai’s story particularly affected actor Edward Norton, who helped raise $450,000 for Refaai’s family and his ongoing medical treatment.