Forced To Flee: Refugee Children Drawing On Their Experiences


Over half of the world’s 24.5 million refugees are children. Through no fault of their own, many will spend their entire childhoods away from home, sometimes separated from their families and friends.

Yet children are also resilient. By learning, playing and exploring their world, they often find ways to cope with trauma, drawing strength from their families and those around them. Psychological support and education can help children rebuild their lives.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Franklin Watts have published Forced to Flee, a unique book in which refugee children explain, in their own words and pictures, their thoughts, feelings and experiences about being forced to flee their homes for safety.

It focuses on three very different countries or regions that have produced large numbers of refugees in recent years, namely Syria, South Sudan and Central America.

UNHCR asked a handful of children in those regions to draw pictures that reflect their experiences of being driven from home. Most of the pictures are sad, reflecting the pain and loss caused by conflict and displacement. Yet in some, there are glimpses of colour and hope.

A selection of the drawings can be found in the photo gallery below.

On sale in hardback from 25th June, you can pre-order the book here.

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This book is intended to serve as an educational resource for young students and an introduction to the global refugee crisis, explaining who refugees are, why they are forced to flee their homes and seek international protection, and the role of UNHCR and its partners in supporting them.


Additional supporting information can be found below. 

UNHCR Children


UNHCR Education

UNHCR’s latest education report, 'Stepping Up'

Up-to-date information about the places in this book as well as information about other global refugee crises:
Syria Emergency 
South Sudan Emergency
The Americas