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Life as a Refugee Child

July 20, 2010

This drawing was done by Saw Eh Kaw Taw, a young Karen boy living in a refugee camp along the Thai/Burma border.  His parents fled violent attackes by the Burmese military against their village before Saw Eh Kaw Taw was born.  He has lived his entire life in the refugee camp and in his drawing he is trying to express what it feels like to live within a barbed wire enclosure, looking out at a world filled with opportunity and freedom but unable to participate in that world.  Few of us have had to  live the kind of life Saw Eh Kaw Taw is forced into and it is hard for us to really emphasize with him, but we need to try.

He is one of  millions of children living in refugee camps around the world.  According to UNICEF, there are approximately 21 million refugees in the world and approximately half of them are children.  All of us, even though we may never have experienced life as a refuee should be appaled by this treatment of  such a precious part of the world’s population.  Even when food, education and health care are provided, refugee camps deprive people of dignity and hope. 

We need to join hands to end this violence against children by taking a stand against the use of war to solve disagreements.  Surely when God created the world and found it good and beautiful, God also gave humans the intelligence needed to stop violence against children and to solve problems without using violence.  It is hard to imagine a God of love who would not provide this kind of option.

We owe it to Saw Eh Kaw Taw and millions of other children to end war and provide secure and hopeful places for them to live and develop their potential.  If we do not do this, we become part of a terrible crime against this important part of our global society.

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