Fri 09/06/2023 - 15:05

On World Refugee Day, June 20th, we can all take a moment to think about what it means to be a refugee. It is a day to celebrate the resilience of more than 100 million men, women and children who have all been forced to leave everything behind them in search of safety.  

This year, UNHCR is launching its third edition of the Youth with Refugees Art Contest in collaboration with UNIQLO, encouraging young people across the world to use their creativity in support of people forced to flee. Part of the benefits from the sale will be allocated to UNHCR’s work in the field.  

Who can participate? 

Young artists aged from 10 to 30 years old worldwide, including refugees and supporters, have the possibility to submit designs interpreting the theme of “Hope away from home”. The 5 lucky finalists will have their art printed on shirts and sold in UNIQLO stores as well as online at the end of 2023.  


Hope away from home 

The theme for World Refugee Day this year is around inclusion and hope, a concept familiar to millions of people forced to flee, who never stopped fighting for a better life. It is what keeps us going through difficult times and is crucial in a situation in which you have no clue as to where you will be in a close future. Imagine for one second being away from everything that is familiar, not speaking the language nor having a roof over your head. It is in the hands of host communities and people like you and me to ensure that people who have left everything behind feel welcomed, included and have hope for the future. 


Using art to raise awareness 

Art can be a powerful advocacy tool when it comes to raising awareness on important causes like that of forcibly displaced people. In the scope of the Youth for Refugees contest, it also encourages young refugees to express themselves in alternative ways, and for those who participate in the initiative, to share what hope away from everything they once knew means. As the number of people in need has drastically increased in the last years, there is also an increasing need for such innovative initiatives that put refugees on the forefront. Art will always be a meaningful tool to help raise awareness and allow individuals to relate to a difficult situation such as that of people forced to flee. 


Why is it  important? 

As years are passing by, the number of people forced to flee across the world keeps increasing. UNHCR has to make difficult choices and many crises remain underfunded. To this day, more than 100 million people have been forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. You can use your talents to help UNHCR share a message of solidarity with people forced to flee. 


Grab the tool of your choice and start creating! You can also support as a partner, by:  

  • Promoting the art contest on your channels 

  • Encouraging young employees to participate 

  • At a later stage, purchasing shirts