Can you find hope in the middle of a crisis? These 9 photos show you can.

When UNICEF's photographers set out to capture the light of hope, first they had to look in the darkness.

Hope is a hard thing to show in a photograph. It's not tangible, but we can feel hope in our hearts; it's invisible, yet we can see it in someone's eyes or hear it in their laugh.

Hope is a light that guides us through the darkness and the voice that sings to us in the silence. Humans need hope to carry on because, without hope, life would be too damn hard.


"Finding Hope," the new photo series by UNICEF's photographers is a stunning exposé about what hope looks like in the most dire situations.

In search of hope, these photographers traveled to people living in some of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time to find that most intangible and often fleeting human emotion.

When they found it, the results were breathtaking:

1. In Ghana, hope is...

Photo by Nyani Quarmyne/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is Munira Yakubu holding up Lorentia Bernard, her 2-year-old daughter, at their home in Widana in the Upper East region of Ghana.

Munira and Lorentia were abandoned by Lorentia's father. Murina is still in school and sells maize and groundnuts outside her house during school holidays to earn money to pay her school fees and support her daughter.

2. In Nepal, hope is...

Photo by Brian Sokol/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is Kuisang Rumba, a famous Tamang language actor, dancing with 9-year-old Jamuna Nepali at a UNICEF Child-Friendly Space in Charikot, Dolakha District, Nepal.

On April 25, 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake killed more than 8,000 people and destroyed massive amounts of property, including numerous temples that were on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

3. In Jordan, hope is...

Photo by Ashley Gilbertson/VII Photo/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is 5-year-old Mohammed spraying water on his 11-year-old sister, Danya, and his cousins, 8-year-old Amnah and 4-year-old Mo’men, in the Za’atari refugee camp, in Mafraq Governorate. The family fled to this camp when their Syrian village was taken over by military forces in 2012.

The camp provides electricity at night, but during the day, refugees at the camp have to use what little water there is to combat Jordan's brutally high temperatures.

Half of Syria's population has been displaced by civil war.

4. In Uganda, hope is...

Photo by Jiro Ose/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is refugee children from South Sudan playing at a child-friendly space at a refugee settlement in Kiryandongo District.

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees have been displaced by military conflicts.

5. In Greece, hope is...

Photo by Ashley Gilbertson/VII Photo/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is refugees like Kinan Kadouni, 26, welcoming other refugees, like the boy he is carrying who has just arrived on the shore near the village of Skala Eressos, on the island of Lesbos, amid volunteers and other refugees. Both are refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic.

“This lovely boy made my day with his nice smile," Mr. Kadouni told UNICEF. “When their boat arrived, everyone looked pale and afraid and this boy was the only one with a big smile, and that is how he drew my attention immediately. I went directly to him and got him out of the boat and we started playing and laughing... I always try to welcome them with a smiling face because I think that will make them comfortable."

In 2016 alone, almost 100,000 refugees from Syria have fled to the shores of Greece.

6. In Cameroon, hope is...

Photo by ESIEBO/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is newlyweds Ibrahim and Hauna John embracing in the Minawao camp for Nigerian refugees in Far North Region. The couple got married in the camp the previous day.

While they planned to marry in their home village, they were forced to flee when it was attacked by Boko Haram insurgents. Ibrahim stayed in the village longer than Hauna in order to finish a school exam, though eventually they were reunited in the camp where they were photographed by UNICEF Africa.

“The very first day we met in the camp, I could not resist her. I had to hold her to my cheek. Really it was a great moment that day. Heaven was very close to me that day,” Ibrahim said.

7. In Uganda, hope is...

Photo by Jiro Ose/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is children watching a skit performed by other children at the Child Restoration Outreach, an organization helping street children in Africa.

In Africa, there are millions of children on the street. Organizations like the Child Restoration Outreach work to reintegrate them into the community, so they may become empowered, self-reliant, and proactive adults.

8. In Croatia, hope is...

Photo by Tomislav Georgiev/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is teenagers playing in the sun in the UNICEF-supported family area at the reception center in Opatovac. Croatia recently opened its doors to refugees from Serbia.

"There were between 2,000 and 3,000 refugees stuck on the border in the mud and rain when the gates opened," Al Jazeera wrote in October.

9. In Iraq, hope is...

Photo by Lindsay Mackenzie/UNICEF, used with permission.

Hope is Dunya, 13, opening a box of new winter shoes in her caravan in Baharka IDP Camp in Erbil Governorate.

In 2015, UNICEF distributed 200,000 sets of winter clothing to children and pregnant mothers in Iraq.

“In conditions where children have suffered, in some cases for years, from violence and exclusion from basic services such as education, it is unacceptable for them to not have shoes, coats or hats appropriate for the winter season," says Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF's representative in Iraq.

These photos are powerful. They show that hope is resilient and can be found anywhere.

Even in the midst of a tragedy or in a crisis with no end in sight, the one thing people always have is a glimmer of hope.

It's not an accident that many of these pictures that encompass that feeling of hope are of children. Children have a unique ability to find hope in the world no matter where they're from or what they've been through.

That's something people lose sight of as we grow older. As life goes on and the world begins to place more weight on our shoulders, we should always remember that children all over the world continue to smile and dance. Hope can be fleeting, and hope can be false, but hope is also the reason to continue forward. Never forget that.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

via USO

Army Capt. Justin Meredith used the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program to read to his son and family while deployed in the Middle East.

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One of the biggest challenges deployed service members face is the feeling of being separated from their families, especially when they have children. It's also very stressful for children to be away from parents who are deployed for long periods of time.

For the past four years, the USO has brought deployed service members and their families closer through a wonderful program that allows them to read together. The Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program gives deployed service members the ability to choose a book, read it on camera, then send both the recording and book to their child.

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