• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Resources for ages 9-11 in Art

Teaching Tools, 24 April 2007

Narin, aged 13, with his little brother.

Narin, aged 13. His father disappeared. His sister was sold. After repatriating to Cambodia, he was placed in an orphanage with his little brother. There are many thousands of refugee children in a similar situation. UNHCR tries its best to trace missing relatives and to reunite fragmented families, both in countries of asylum and after refugees have returned to their home countries.

Narin's Story

from Refugee Children (Geneva, UNHCR, 1993)

Narin is a Cambodian boy who spent many years as a refugee in Thailand, watching his family disappear one by one. He now lives in an orphanage outside the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.

"For most of my 13 years, Cambodia was a homeland I knew only from the stories I heard.

What I heard was that Cambodia was a country at war. A country where people died. A country where people became refugees like me.

For most of my life, my home was Site 2, a big refugee camp in Thailand.

I am not sure if I was born in Site 2. My brother and sister were born there and that was where my parents left us.

But Site 2 was not that bad. We used to have a good life there until my father was arrested five years ago. I was number one in class. I studied very hard because education leads to a good job.

When my father was sent to jail, my mother sold the family's food coupons to pay for him to be released. Later she sold my sister to a couple who had no children so that she could pay for our food.

When my father got out of jail, he told us he had to go to Cambodia to earn money to get our food coupons back. But he never came back.

A Lost Childhood

So instead of going to school or playing outside, I went out to work.

Sometimes I went to a cemetery to look for mint to sell or exchange for cane sugar, and then we would exchange the sugar for rice.

During this time, my mother was so sad that she was always drinking. She bought liquor with the money we had earned for food.

One day we had no food at all and my mother was drunk. So they took my brother and me to an orphanage. The orphanage asked the people who bought my sister if they wanted us too. They refused.

I learned then that my mother had gone to live with another man.

Because I missed my sister so much, I went to where she was living. I went in and asked for a drink of water and I saw her face. I did not tell the couple that she was my sister even though I was so sad.

Today, I live with my brother in an orphanage in Takhmau District, about seven kilometers outside Phnom Penh.

I have a good life in the orphanage, but I always wish to have my sister back."




Against All Odds

Play the online game in Danish, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Icelandic, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish.

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award 2015

Aqeela Asifi, an Afghan refugee living in Pakistan, has been named the 2015 winner of UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award. Asifi has dedicated her adult life to educating refugee girls. Despite minimal resources and significant cultural challenges, hundreds of girls have now passed through her school, equipped with life-long skills and brighter hopes for their futures.

Asifi fled from Kabul in 1992 with her young family. They found refuge in the desolate Kot Chandana refugee village in the south-eastern Punjab province of Pakistan. Adjusting from life in a capital city and working as a teacher, to living in a dusty refugee village was difficult. She was especially struck by the total absence of schools for girls.

It took time but eventually Asifi was allowed to start a small school under a tent. Over the years the school expanded and received the hard-won backing of community elders. Asifi's dedication has helped guide more than 1,000 girls through to the eighth grade and encouraged more schools to open in the village. Another 1,500 young people (900 girls, 650 boys) are enrolled in six schools throughout the refugee village today.

UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award 2015

A Bleak Milestone in Lebanon, Visualized

The number of refugees fleeing from Syria into neighbouring Lebanon passed the 1 million mark today, a bleak milestone exacerbated by rapidly depleting resources and a host community stretched to breaking point.

A Bleak Milestone in Lebanon, Visualized

2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres presents the Nansen medal to Afghan refugee, Aqeela Asifi in Geneva, Switzerland.

Asifi, 49, has dedicated her life to bringing education to refugee girls in Pakistan. Despite minimal resources and significant cultural challenges, Asifi - a former teacher who fled from Kabul with her family in 1992 - has guided over a thousand refugee girls through primary education in the Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali, Pakistan.

Before she arrived, strict cultural traditions kept most girls at home. But she was determined to give these girls a chance and began teaching just a handful of pupils in a makeshift school tent.

UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award honours extraordinary service to the forcibly displaced, and names Eleanor Roosevelt, Graça Machel and Luciano Pavarotti among its laureates. Speakers and performers at today's award ceremony include UNHCR Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Ger Duany, Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and singer Angelique Kidjo and visual artist Cedric Cassimo.

Afghanistan is the largest, most protracted refugee crisis in the world. Over 2.6 million Afghans currently live in exile and over half of them are children.

2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award

Greece: Refugee Crisis in EuropePlay video

Greece: Refugee Crisis in Europe

Over 100,000 refugees have arrived to Greece by sea this year. UNHCR is mobilizing emergency teams, resources and delivering basic humanitarian assistance in order to address the most urgent gaps and support government efforts. Volunteers, local communities and NGOs are providing invaluable assistance but they need support.

Challenges in Jordan's Za'atri CampPlay video

Challenges in Jordan's Za'atri Camp

Since the start of the year, more than 20,000 people have arrived in Jordan, stretching humanitarian resources to the limit. Many find shelter in Za'atri refugee camp.
Life for Iraqi refugees increasingly desperatePlay video

Life for Iraqi refugees increasingly desperate

More than 4.5 million Iraqis have been uprooted by the crisis in their country. More than 2.5 million of them are displaced within Iraq, while over 2 million have found refuge abroad, including 1.4 million in Syria and some half-a-million in Jordan. Life is getting increasingly desperate for these refugees as they run out of resources and, in some cases, overstay their visas.