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What is a refugee?

16 June 2020, Impact of Our Work

Educating children on the realities of refugees 

Every year the world marks World Refugee Week to share stories, celebrate our differences and acknowledge all that refugees bring to our communities and countries. 

In 2022, UNHCR estimated there were more than 89 million people forcibly displaced in the world - and half of them are children. They have fled persecution, war or violence. Many of these children have lost parents, brothers, sisters and friends. They have witnessed unspeakable acts of violence. Many of these children are unaccompanied or have become separated from their parents, meaning they’re at greater risk of abuse and exploitation.

To help children grasp the stories of refugees and what they go through, Save the Children have produced this video. The video can help teach Australian children about where refugees come from, what happened in their countries, and why they fled danger. 


Refugee children range from the young to the nearly adult. They include children like Faisal*, a Syrian refugee, now living in Jordan. Faisal’s family fled Syria before he was even born, so he’s only ever known life as a refugee. Since he was 3 and a half, he’s been attending the Save the Children Learning Centre so he can play, learn and socialise and get ready for school. Just like any other child in the world. 

Five-year-old Faisal in his new home in Za’atari camp, Jordan.
Photo: Jordi Matas / Save the Children


Or Harriet*, who fled fighting in South Sudan for a safer future. She now calls the Bidi Bidi Refugee camp in northern Uganda home. A place where she can re-start her education and aim for the stars. As head girl, she’s already well on her way. 

Harriet at school in Bidi Bidi refugee camp.
Photo: Louis Leeson / Save The Children


This year as we mark World Refugee Week, we can all take a moment to reflect. We can take time to think about the 71 million people forced to flee their homes because of war or persecution, their incredible resilience and perseverance. We can talk to our children about what refugees go through, and how their dreams are the same as our own – safety, security and a happy future. Children can show their support too, by hearing their stories, understanding their plight, and giving them the support they need as they settle in to a safer life. 

*names changed to protect identity

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