UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in partnership with Dr. Toeingam Guptabutra, a lecturer in mixed-media art at the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University and Sririta Jensen Narongdej, a Distinguished Member of UNHCR’s Leading Women Fund, today opened an art exhibition called “Monument of Hope” showcasing the courage and resilience of refugee children around the world.
According to UNHCR’s Global Trends report, at the end of 2022, 108.4 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations and events seriously disturbing public order.
Over half of the world’s refugees are children. Many will spend their entire childhoods away from home, sometimes separated from their families. They may have witnessed or experienced violent acts and, in exile, are at risk of abuse, neglect, violence, exploitation, trafficking or military recruitment.
“Children should play, learn and dream of the future” said Nivene Albert, UNHCR Deputy Representative in Thailand. “UNHCR works with national authorities, and other international and local organizations to assist, protect and find solutions for displaced children. We ensure that those who are unaccompanied or separated are cared for and have access to family tracing and reunification services, that newborns are registered at birth and that children with disabilities are supported. Through psychosocial support activities and education, we help children rebuild their lives.”
Dr. Guptabutra contacted UNHCR to offer her support to refugee children, inspired by her observations of the global displacement crisis.
“I see more wars and conflicts occurring around the world affecting millions of people,” Dr. Guptabutra said. “And what really moves me is the situation of refugee children. All children are supposed to have a happy life, but refugee children face a lot of challenges. I hope that ‘Monument of Hope’ will remind the public how courageous and resilient refugee children are.”
The exhibition is also supported by Sririta Jensen Narongdej, a Distinguished Member of UNHCR’s Leading Women Fund, who aims to spread information on the refugee cause to the wider public.
“I have been familiar with charitable activities since I was young, beginning with my supporting children’s education,” Ms. Narongdej said. “Now that I have become a mother, I am more sensitive to the bonding within family. I am determined to be a voice that supports refugees, especially children and women.”
“Monument of Hope” will be showcased from 20-26 September on the 4th floor, Central Embassy. Proceeds after expenses will go to UNHCR to support refugee children around the world to access family reunification, psychosocial support, education and birth registration.
The artworks on display took more than two years to complete using crochet, which symbolizes the vulnerability of refugee children and precariousness of their situation, especially when support is not provided in time.
In the picture (left to right)