Dua Lipa has said meeting children uprooted by the conflict in Syria and learning of the difficulties refugees face was personal for her as her own parents once fled a war-torn region.
The London-born singer travelled to Lebanon with Unicef to meet children and young people supported by the children’s charity, including many displaced by the eight-year war in Syria.
Lipa’s Kosovar-Albanian parents fled the conflict in the Balkans in 1992.
She said of her visit to Lebanon: “You can read about the conditions or see the challenges on TV, but you don’t really feel the absolute dire circumstances for refugees from Syria until you see them for yourself.
“But the most powerful thing I saw was hope.
“In Terbol, I met a wonderful young girl called Yazee. She’s 15.
“She dreams of one day going back to Syria and starting a business applying make-up. And in spite of all of the excuses she could have to give up, she is every day studying and practising and learning her craft so she can one day make her dream real.”
The star, 23, went on: “This is personal for me. My parents fled a war-torn region and built a life for themselves in a new place.
“And each one of the refugee children I met has parents just like my own, who have tried to make the best decisions they could for their families.
“I feel lucky that I was given a chance, especially from an immigrant family, to have been born in the UK and been able to live my dream, because I had that opportunity and I feel like every other child should have that opportunity too.
“To be able to be in a place where they can thrive and be the best version of themselves.”
Lebanon is host to more than a million Syrian refugees, including around 500,000 children, many of whom have faced violence and exploitation, and struggle to access adequate health care or education.
Tanya Chapuisat, Unicef’s representative in Lebanon, said: “We are happy to have the support of global champions like Dua Lipa advocating for vulnerable children.
“She met and empowered young people who, like her, have ideas and energy to create a better world and therefore we thank her for amplifying the stories and dreams of the youth Unicef is supporting across Lebanon.”