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What’s it like to be a child refugee?

A young refugee waits, cold and wet, for a World Food Program distribution to begin in Kakuma refugee camp days before World Refugee Day, June 20th 2015.

A young refugee waits, cold and wet, for a World Food Program distribution to begin in Kakuma refugee camp days before World Refugee Day, June 20th 2015. © UNHCR / Dominic Nahr

Stories of loss, hope, joy and fear from those forced to grow up too quickly

Two facts to consider: 1) In 2014, half of all refugees were children. 2) On average, a camp refugee spends 17 years living there, an entire childhood’s worth of time.

As a generation, these children are at a greater risk of abuse, neglect, violence, exploitation, trafficking or forced military recruitment. They may also have witnessed or experienced violent acts and/or been separated from their families.

At the same time, children are highly resilient and find ways to cope and draw strength from their families and communities. These are three stories of just such children and youth: Home Alone: South Sudan teen leads her young siblings to safety in Uganda; Emotional graduation ceremony triggers memories of Burundian scholar’s journey; and The challenge of life in their Afghan homeland for children born in exile.