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Two refugees, generations apart, tell their story in new UNICEF film

2017-02-03

Film available for download here: http://uni.cf/2knTBi3

NEW YORK, 3 February 2017  A powerful new UNICEF film presenting the parallel stories of a young Syrian refugee and a World War II child refugee was released today as a stark illustration of the challenges that refugee children continue to face.

The 120-second film, created with 180 Amsterdam, switches between the stories of Ahmed, 12, from Damascus in Syria, and Harry, 92, from Berlin, Germany. During the film, the two tell their individual stories of being forced to flee their homes and their harrowing journeys in search of safety. Despite being separated by more than 70 years, the two stories contain many similarities, and the film interposes footage of Syrian refugees with historical footage from World War II.

In the film, Ahmed and Harry describe horrific details of their experiences, including attacks on schools and homes, being forced to flee in fear of their lives, and dangerous journeys on land and sea. 

Harry finally found sanctuary in the United Kingdom, where he has lived ever since, whilst Ahmed reached safety in Sweden, where he was reunited with his family and is now back in school.

Across the globe, nearly 50 million children have been uprooted – 28 million of them driven from their homes by conflicts not of their making, and millions more migrating in the hope of finding a better, safer life.

Often traumatized by the conflicts and violence they are fleeing, they face further dangers along the way, including death and injury during perilous land and sea journeys, malnourishment and dehydration, trafficking, kidnapping, rape and even murder.

“The needs of refugees have never been greater. Now, more than ever, they need our support. We hope that this video will serve as a reminder that behind the headlines are the stories of individual children. Not refugees, not migrants, but children, whose only dream is safety, and the chance of a brighter future” said UNICEF Director Paloma Escudero.

Children now make up more than half of the world’s refugees, despite the fact they account for less than a third of the global population. In 2015 around 45% of all child refugees came from just two countries – Syria and Afghanistan - while roughly three-quarters of the world’s child refugees come from just 10 countries. Syria accounts for the largest number of child refugees, with more than 2.3 million child refugees registered with UNHCR, with Afghanistan accounting for a further 1.3 million.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.

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