Refugee Children Tell Their Stories

Painting by David Kumcieng, aged 15, Sudanese, Kakuma refugee camp.
“We wanted to run, but we had to walk because we were tired and so hot and hungry. In my picture the people are wearing clothes, but of course we didn’t have any clothes. We saw people dying, it was always the young ones, the hungry ones, and the old ones.”

 

Painting by Mac Anyat, aged 17, Sudanese, Kakuma refugee camp.
“It was terrible. People shouting, screaming: ‘Run, swim, go, go!’ Where was my friend? He was taken by the river. Nobody was anybody’s friend. How can you be a friend when people are shooting at you and the river is going whoosh — and you have to go in that river? The bang, bang and the whoosh, whoosh made my mind go dead and I don’t remember who was there, who dies, what happened.”

 

Painting by Yel Awar Langar, aged 14, Sudanese, Kakuma refugee camp.

 

Painting by Zekaria Aken Deng, aged 15, Sudanese, Kakuma refugee camp.

 

Painting by Simon Mac Anyuat, aged 17, Sudanese, Kakuma refugee camp.
“My picture shows a man from my tribe, the Dinka, wearing traditional clothes and fighting a buffalo to prove that he is a man.”

 

Painting by Bor Alier, aged 17, Sudanese, Kakuma refugee camp.
“In my village in Sudan, people would come and take photographs of us and ask about our terrible life. We would tell them how we had lost our cattle, how we needed help. Then they would go away. Again and again. We thought they would help. Then one day we had to run. We had nothing. Nobody came back to help. Don’t ask me about my problems. You will just go away too.”

 

One Day We Had to Run!: Refugee Children tell Their Stories in Words and Paintings
(Evans Brothers Limited, London). Courtesy of UNHCR. Used with permission.