FORCED TO FLEE

Recently we held a unique immersive event called Forced to Flee. We wanted to bring to life the stories of children who have been driven from their homes by violence and war.

Some of these children are still trapped inside war zones, some live in refugee camps, others have found new homes.

These are just some of the stories we told...

Forced to flee across borders...

"I'd rather die here from the bad conditions than die in Syria. I wouldn't be alive if I was still there."

Ali, aged 12

The brutal war in Syria is forcing children and their families to abandon their homes. Millions have fled to nearby countries like Jordan, where refugees now make up more than a quarter of the population.

Some children, like Ali (pictured above), live in crowded refugee camps like Za'atari, which is home to nearly 80,000 people.

Nur also lives in Za'atari and misses her friends in Syria, but she’s glad that there’s no shooting or shelling to hide from anymore. "I used to like hiding. Hiding is better than dying."

Other children, like 10-year-old Bilal, have settled in towns and cities where they struggle to get into education because they've already missed so much school. Bilal hasn't been to school since 2011, but he now attends our safe spaces - an area where he can learn, play and make friends.

Trapped inside Syria's war zones

"I don't know why they bomb the schools. They don't want us to learn and become doctors and lawyers."

Rami, aged 9

For millions of children who are displaced within Syria, the war is preventing them from going to school, meaning thousands are missing out on vital education.

10-year-old Maha's school was bombed twice in the space of one month. She now worries about her future: "I feel very bad," she says. "If I cannot finish school then I will not be able to go to university to become a doctor."

Maha holds her school books.

Maha holds her school books.

Other children, whose schools have been attacked, are being forced to learn in bombed out buildings and temporary shelters. Some classes have moved underground to protect students from airstrikes.

We're doing whatever it takes to give children trapped inside Syria the chance to learn. We're supporting a school in the village where Rami (pictured) lives and many more like it, to ensure children don't get left behind.

A global crisis...

"I want to be a vet. Birds don't have doctors to give them treatment or anyone to take care of them.

I want to heal them. I'd like to be a bird so I can return back to my home."

Saja, aged 11

It's not just Syria where children are being driven from their homes.

In Afghanistan, Iraq and war zones around the world, children are leaving behind their friends and everything they know to escape violence.

In Iraq, Saja (pictured above) and her family are living in a camp for displaced people. We're running safe spaces for children here and in other countries affected by conflict all over the world, where our trained teams help children come to terms with the horrors that they've experienced.

Other children benefiting from these safe spaces include 13-year-old Amal from Yemen – where 2.8 million people have fled the escalating crisis and thousands are seeking safety in Somalia. Amal was selected by other children to lead a group in developing a radio show through which children affected by the crisis can share their experiences. One day, Amal would like to be a teacher, so that: "I can help children to read, write and express their ideas - just like we're doing now."

Children in Yemen developing their radio show.

Children in Yemen developing their radio show.

There are almost 30 million children who have been forced to flee their homes across the world because of conflict and violence.

We couldn't possibly tell all of their stories. Here are just a few more examples of how we are helping families, no matter where they are.

In El Salvador, we're working alongside the organisation Cure Violence to reduce the number of children migrating to the United States due to gang violence.

We're mediating conflicts and creating safer spaces for young people.
Conflict in South Sudan has torn families apart. So far we have reunited 3,000 children with their families.
Violence in Burundi has caused thousands to flee to Rwanda. In some of these camps there have been outbreaks of typhoid.

We're treating families, improving sanitation conditions, and training community health workers.

In the midst of this crisis, children are easily forgotten. We’re asking world leaders to unite to form a new deal for child refugees – to make sure no child misses out on education and that their rights are upheld.

Pledge your support for child refugees now.

“I want to become a photographer. I always see photographers here after the bombing photographing the destruction. I will take photos of nice things like birds and animals."

Kareem, aged 8

Thank you for helping us reach every last child.

All children's names have been changed in order to protect their identity.

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