Worldwide, children make up 41% of refugees. From Greece to Tanzania, here are the stories of 10 children who had to flee their homes.
Mustafa*, 5, with his sister Fatima*, 3, were forced to leave their home in Syria because of violent clashes and heavy bombardment. Since their displacement, their family has been living in an old coal store in Greece.
A young Syrian girl looks on at new arrivals to the informal camp Kara Tepe on the Greek island of Lesbos. As of 2015, more than 350,000 desperate refugees made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. The travel is both physically and mentally taxing on the children, who suffer from severe sunburns and blisters. Many have lost their toenails from the huge distances they walk. For those who survive the treacherous journey, the terrifying ordeal is far from over. Having seen and experienced untold horrors during their journey, children often arrive in Europe scared and exhausted.
Amira*, 27, came to Greece with her sister and their children from Daraa. The two women are stuck in Greece after the border closures, while their husbands are already in Germany. As the women stay in Cherso camp, they hope for an eventual reunification with their families.
Maraam Ahmed, 3, sits outside a building for East African University in Somalia, where hundreds of refugees from Yemen are now living. Around 17,000 people have crossed the Gulf of Aden to come to Somalia's semi-independent region of Puntland in search of a safer place to live. However, many Yemenis are finding that the conditions in Puntland are not as safe as they hoped and are wishing for an end to the war so they can go back home.
One day old Nadeen* looks up at her mother Fatuma* in Bosaso, Somalia. This warehouse, where her family resides, was converted into makeshift living quarters for families who fled the conflict in Yemen for Somalia's semi-independent region of Puntland. Fatuma, who is of Somali origin, and her husband Mansur*, who is Yemeni, had to flee their home in Aden, Yemen after their house was destroyed by bombs. Fatuma was nine months pregnant at the time and had to flee their home with her two children. "One night I was sleeping and I got up to move because I was uncomfortable,” Fatuma said. “Seconds later, a shell landed right in the spot where I had been sleeping. At that point we decided to leave so we took a car to Mukalla, and from there we took a boat to Bosaso. When you're running away from gunfire you can only think about getting to safety."
Mary left her home in Kanyosha, Burundi, a suburb located roughly 26 kilometers from the capital city, Bujumbura, early in the morning. She was traveling with her four children as part of a large group of family, friends and neighbors who decided to flee their home before the violence caught up with them. They only had time to pack a few belongings, and a small sum of money gleaned from savings and selling some of their belongings. The group then paid a large sum to hire a bus to Rwanda. The journey was hard and tiresome, with passengers going most or all of the day without food or water. Mary was and remains afflicted by a number of conditions, including diabetes, heart and liver complications. She was separated from her husband due to the chaos in Burundi, and his whereabouts remain unknown. She also only managed to make it out with four of her six children, leaving Mary unsure of what happened to her two daughters left behind in Burundi.
A mother carries her baby as she walks along the train tracks running from Serbia into Roszke, Hungary. She is walking to a gathering point where refugees and migrants wait for a transit bus to pick them up and take them on the four hour journey across Hungary to a reception center near the Austrian border. As the refugee crises worsens in Europe, the Hungarian authorities are becoming overwhelmed by the thousands of refugees and migrants walking over the border from Serbia. Save the Children has deployed an emergency response team to Hungary to assess the needs and begin planning for a possible response, supporting the most vulnerable children and their families.
Iman* holds her sick daughter in a medical tent in Idomeni, Greece. Their houses and schools were destroyed by bombs, so their family left Syria and hope to seek refuge in Europe. Iman and her family are stranded alongside 10,000 refugees in Idomeni, between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The refugees live in tents placed by the railway tracks as they wait for the border to open. Save the Children works in Idomeni offering protection to children traveling alone and provides food and support to families.
Families line up to collect food in the Nyarugusu border camp in Tanzania. Since the conflict, the camp has received 78,000 Burundian refugees fleeing violence in their home country. In July 2015, cases of acute malnutrition in the Nyarugusu camp reached critical levels. In one day alone, more than 30 malnourished Burundian children were admitted and showing secondary complications including malaria, pneumonia, worms, anemia and diarrhea.
19 year old Riham is 9-months pregnant and currently staying in Nea Kavala camp with her 1 year old daughter, Uri*, as well as her sister and her children. She is hoping to be reunited with her husband, who arrived in Germany eight months ago. While everyone in her family had already left Syria, Riham stayed there with her husband's family. It was only after they were threatened by Daesh (ISIS) that Riham decided to flee to Greece. While pregnant, Riham walked through the mountains for seven days before reaching the boat that would eventually take her to Greece.
Want to help children like these survive and thrive? Sign our pledge to be a voice for kids in the U.S. and around the world.