Skip to content

Road of Hope

Our background

"Voices from Zaatari: The Birth of Road of Hope

“I often say that Road of Hope was born while I was walking on the sands of Zaatari. I remember well the first woman I interviewed in Zaatari, a very beautiful woman with deep green eyes that I’ll never forget. As I was leaving her tent, she held my hand and asked me: “What are you going to do with everything I’ve told you today?”, and I replied that I was going to write my master’s thesis. And she, still holding my hand, said: “Then please give voice to our suffering. Let people know what is really happening to us, what life is like for Syrians, what life is like for refugees, and what life is like here in Zaatari. Give us a voice.” – Patricia Barendregt, founder and director of Road of Hope.

Patricia Silva Barendregt is from Brazil and works in the field of international development. The idea of the Road of Hope Foundation was inspired at heart when she first came face to face with the consequences of conflict and forced migration. This has led her to devote her life to improving the situation of refugees.

In 2006 she lived in Egypt to learn Arabic and shortly afterwards was transferred to work in a refugee camp in Sudan. She lived in the camp for 14 months, surrounded by the realities and difficulties of the field. Living under the same conditions in the camp enabled her to witness and comprehend the struggles and needs of refugees, experiencing personally how serious the problems of refugees can be. In the following years, she lived in Jordan, where she provided social support and organized educational activities for children and adults.

In Brazil, she studied International Relations and worked as a policy advisor for the Iraqi Embassy in Brazil. In 2014 she moved for her Master in International Development Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She conducted field research for her thesis in Jordan where she visited Syrian refugees and Jordanian families in Al-Mafraq, Irbid, Al-Zarqa, Amman and Al-Za’atari refugee camps. This experience transformed, not only her views but her life entirely. In addition to the poverty and inhumane life conditions she observed, Patricia was strongly impacted by the feeling of hopelessness prevailing in the camp. 

In the Netherlands, she volunteered for the Dutch Council for Refugees, where she visited refugees at home, and provided support, guidance and translations. During this time she realized that the best way to help both refugees and the host country was to create a new foundation. 



The core motivation of Road of Hope is to recognize which obstacles deter integration and to provide the assistance required to surmount them. Whilst discussing with colleagues and researchers in this area, we concluded that a novel collaborative organization would be most suited to aid refugees and their host communities. Thanks to this inspiration and the initiative of Patricia and the board members, Road of Hope was founded in May 2016.

This short documentary was made in 2017 by volunteers for a Brazilian TV channel.