UNHCR asked youth to draw in solidarity with refugees amid the pandemic. We received 2,000 drawings from 100 countries, chose seven and brought them to life.
Noémie, 16, France
“This contest caught my attention for its goal to inspire hope and solidarity and for its ability to raise awareness while staying at home. My superhero is a woman inspired by a Sudanese refugee girl walking under the rain on one of your Instagram posts.
My art is not only for this girl but for all refugees, their unique stories, and their courage I admire. My superhero also has a metal leg which at first is an injury but now is her strongest power, as her fears are now strengths.”
‘Fighting the virus and stereotypes’
Nesime, 16, Greece (from Afghanistan)
“It is true that the coronavirus is now a part of our lives, but we should not be worried. We should fight together to defeat the coronavirus.
I now live in Greece. People have an image of me in their minds, but I am who I am.”
‘Ray of hope’
Mukah, 24, Cameroon
“The COVID-19 outbreak and the crisis in my country motivated me to participate. My artwork is entitled “Ray of Hope”. A group of refugees on the left depict those stricken by war.
Through the donations of nations and individuals that care, UNHCR is able to help refugees. This comes to them as a ray of hope for a brighter future and shows that they matter to our world.”
Alfa, 25, Kenya (from Democratic Republic of the Congo)
“I’m a Congolese refugee living in Kenya. I wanted to communicate through my painting that solidarity is the best way to protect the lives of everybody in the world from this pandemic, including refugees.”
‘Love begets love’
Maria, 23, Cyprus
“The girl in the drawing offers love to the refugee boy. He in turn conveys the love to his father. The father is a doctor and offers his love to a patient suffering from the coronavirus.
Finally, the patient, who is now healthy, offers her love to her daughter, who is the girl who appears in the original cartoon.”
‘Dark world, blue heart’
Mayu, 16, Japan
“My drawing shows two hands joining each other to protect a refugee boy, inspired by the flag of UNHCR. There is a dark sky full of conflicts and viruses in the back. But people have united to form a cage that blocks them.
The boy has a hole in his heart. But the hearts of people all over the world pour down to create a deep blue heart. There are so many he can’t hold them. You can also imagine that the boy sends back the love.
The potential of a child is immeasurable.”
‘Rain of love’
Faida, 20, Rwanda
“Refugees in a camp are looking forward to receiving a heart which symbolizes love.
Just for a moment, love is enough to solve their problems, and that is love which comes from everywhere – that’s why it’s coming from the sky.”
As countries around the world went into COVID-19 lockdown, many young people reached out to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, asking if there was a way to help while staying at home. We launched the 2020 Youth with Refugees Art Contest to give them a chance to use their creativity for a good cause. Within two months, we received 2,000 drawings from 100 countries.
The selection of the seven global winners – whose drawings have been animated by Japanese studio SPEED inc. – was made by a jury drawn from UNHCR high-profile supporters, refugee members of our Global Youth Advisory Council, artists, animation experts and our partners. UNHCR has also awarded five regional prizes, five prizes for cartoons and 20 special mentions. All participants have received a certificate of participation.
Originally published on UNHCR on 22 July 2020