Refugee Artwork

refugee children drawings

Forced to flee their countries for reasons beyond their control, refugee children survive amidst poverty and insecurity. They live with their future on hold in refugee camps and collective centers.

All refugee children have experienced the trauma of persecution and flight. Many have been separated from their families. The lucky ones receive some form of education, which may only be an open-air school. Paper and books are a luxury.

These pictures are the beginning of a collection of original drawings by refugee children around the world. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) was able to provide art supplies to the children whose drawings you see here. Each child depicted what he or she has experienced:  scenes of fighting, flight, and day-to-day life in a refugee camp. We hope that communities across the US will reach out to help all children of war and persecution enjoy once again the security of their homes and family.


This drawing was sent to UNHCR by Dana Cavar, aged 12, a schoolgirl from the former Yugoslavia. She used her crayons to describe the conditions under which she has been living.

Her apartment is riddled with bullet holes. The chairs have also been hit and are broken. Imagine sitting in a chair which has already received several direct hits. The shutters are kept closed during the day. However, Dana has left the door onto the balcony open so that we can see what's been going on outside.

The balcony itself is scarred by bullets and shrapnel. Beyond the balcony you can see part of the town. The houses have been badly damaged and some of the roofs have been blown to bits, letting in the rain.

Through the door leading to the next room, you can see a broken window and part of a neighboring building, which has also been hit. No doubt Dana's building is in a similar state.

By looking at this picture in detail, we can perhaps get a little closer to understanding what it is like to be a child who has become a refugee, a child who has had to flee his or her home and country to escape from the terror of war.

The children who drew the following pictures are unknown. Please decide for yourself what country each picture depicts, make up the story the picture tells you, or describe what you see in detail as was done for the first picture in this exercise.