Reimagining a better world for migrant and refugee children
How refugee and migrant children can enrich our communities, and what you can do to help.
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of children around the world are on the move – some driven from their homes by conflict, poverty or climate change; others leave in the hope of finding a better life. These refugee and migrant children have as much to offer the world as other children. But displacement often exposes them to violence, exploitation and discrimination, all of which challenge their ability to resettle and reach their true potential.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
UNICEF believes that when we work together, we can do things better. That’s why we’re helping to make communities more inclusive for uprooted children and young people. It’s crucial to ensure that migrant and refugee children integrate with their local peers not only so that the children themselves benefit, but so society is better off, too. And when the right policies are in place, migration can bring huge benefits to children, families and communities, both migrant and local.
UNICEF strives to support every child; from campaigning for the rights of displaced children to education and empowering them with new skills and opportunities, whilst helping them resettle into their communities.
Unlocking refugee and migrant children’s potential
As we plan for the future and reimagine a fairer world for every child, it’s important that we understand the journeys of children on the move – where they have come from, who they are, and what they hope for the future.
The Unlock Their Potential mini video game is based on the real-life stories of three children and hopes to shine a light on these extraordinary young people, to challenge the common misconceptions about them, and to help you discover some of the challenges they face. Better understanding means a better world. Are you up for the challenge?
From Syria to Sydney: The true story of Aboud Kaplo
War and displacement couldn’t destroy Syrian refugee Aboud’s passion for playing the violin. With help and support, Aboud was able to reimagine and unleash his true potential – and use his talents to support others and give back to the community that welcomed him.
Born in Aleppo, Aboud showed musical promise from an early age. When his family first fled their home, heading north to escape escalating violence, Aboud’s violin was one of the few possessions he took with him.
After the family fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Aboud was unable to attend school, so he watched tutorials on YouTube to teach himself how to play the violin. But it was his chance meeting with British film-maker, Susie Attwood, that allowed Aboud to see a future as a ‘violinist’.
Susie, a fellow violinist, was filming at the monastery sheltering Aboud’s family. Impressed by his talent, she contacted her alma mater, Oxford University, for help. The college was so moved by Aboud’s story that they sent him his first proper violin. It was an amazing present, but the real gift was Susie’s belief in him.
Aboud’s family applied for a visa to move to Australia, and after two years of waiting in Lebanon, they were finally granted one. As excited as they were to start a new chapter in a new home, Aboud still found settling into a new school and learning a new language in a new country a challenge. But once again, Aboud’s love of music won over the people around him. Violin teacher Leigh Middenway, for example, saw Aboud’s hunger to learn and volunteered to help him to fine-tune his skills.
I ask people to have a greater understanding of what children are going through and facing. And for the children, I tell them: don’t lose hope.
His talent, and the support he received, opened up a world of opportunities for Aboud, who is thriving in his new community. As a member of the prestigious Sydney Youth Orchestra, Aboud is pursuing his dream of a career in music. He’s also using his talent to help others, by performing at UNICEF fundraising concerts. And by sharing his story, Aboud is also helping challenge perceptions about uprooted children – and what they can achieve.