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When a picture tells a thousand words: illustrators celebrate vital support to Syrian refugees

Posted on Jul 27, 2017

The plight of refugees might have disappeared from the mainstream media replaced by another presidential gaffe or the latest education fad destined to create mayhem,  but the humanitarian crisis of Syrian refugees has by no means gone away.

To highlight their plight, The European Union (EU) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have teamed up with children’s book illustrators from across the EU to depict the importance of everyday objects in providing hope, security and comfort to refugee children who have been uprooted from their homes and normality.

Twelve emerging European illustrators have come together to portray how seemingly mundane items mean so much more to a refugee child than we could know. From a teddy bear or a story book to a toothbrush or a pair of shoes, these objects provide something they can call their own – an escapism from reality. These items comfort the children with a familiar taste of home and give them hope and the excitement that every child deserves.

Here is a selection of the artwork:

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Those are powerful images, not only because of their simplicity of their style, but also because of what they depict are, to the majority of the children of the  Western World, things that they take for granted. I love them all, but feel particularly moved by this one created by Spanish illustrator Pintachan, because it also expresses the simple pleasures that can be found within family routines, which are so important to a child’s happiness

Having access to these vital objects help give back a sense of normality, however small, to children and families who have experienced the most unimaginable upheavals in their lives. The ESSN (Emergency Social Safety Net) Programme (with financial support of the EU and Turkish partners) helps the most vulnerable refugee families based in Turkey to find their feet again from receiving a debit card with a
monthly allowance of EUR 28 (120 Turkish Liras) per family member. This allows for parents to regain some independence and  provide for their children according to their needs; whether that is a pair of shoes, a book or some crayons and paper, or whatever it is that their children will need to regain a sense of normality and learn to have fun again.  All these things OUR children take for granted. You can find out more about the ESSN Card here.

These powerful images are well worth sharing with children, and will make a great companion to reading Kate Milner’ My Name is Not Refugee.

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