Torn From Home: My Life as a Refugee gives young visitors and others an opportunity to gain a firsthand look into the often challenging realities faced by refugee children and their families, and yet experience the personal triumphs of rebuilding their lives in a new land. It showcases seven exhibit areas: Home, Losing Home, Registration, Refugee Camp, Medical Clinic and Going Home.
The self-guided tour walks Museum visitors through exhibit areas where they will learn about the shelter, food, medical care, schooling, and play activities of children in refugee camps. The exhibition recreates actual refugee camp settings and features interactive multimedia. Photographs, artwork and testimonials of refugee children from countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, and Afghanistan will be on display.
Visitors enter at the camp entrance, where they will be registered and processed as a refugee. From there, visitors will walk into a replica of a refugee camp where they can learn about and imagine what daily life must be like for refugee children. The exhibition allows children to touch items found in refugee camps; hear the voices and life stories of refugee children; and engage in interactive age-appropriate educational activities on human rights. It aims to bring awareness about the plight of some nine million refugee children around the globe.
As visitors exit the exhibition, they will learn about what happens to refugees after they leave the camp, including repatriation, resettlement, and other outcomes. An interactive video kiosk will encourage children to share their reflections about the exhibition. A resource center will allow visitors to access information on aid organizations working with displaced populations.
This creative and educational exhibition was developed in partnership with Lied Discovery Children's Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, and international aid organizations including UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. Philanthropist Pam Omidyar helped conceive the exhibit and personally provided core funding.
"We hope children and other visitors will take away from the exhibition a sense of empathy and insight into the lives of refugee children around the world," said Linda Quinn, executive director of Lied Discovery Children's Museum. "This exhibition will allow them to walk in the shoes of refugee children and reflect on issues such as losing a home and human rights in a creative, educational and interactive way."
The exhibition made its debut at Lied Discovery Children's Museum in June 2008, and began a tour of other museums and venues across North America in Spring 2009. For more information, visit www.tornfromhome.org.