Three Eritrean children peek at the camera from their parents' laps
© UNHCR/Stefan Lorint

Refugee Children

You can help UNHCR protect displaced children at every stage of their journey.

Children make up over 40 per cent of the world’s displaced people. Together, we can help restore their futures.

Displaced children may have witnessed or experienced violence, and are at heightened risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation, trafficking and military recruitment. Many will spend their entire childhoods away from home.

UNHCR works with national authorities, as well as international and local organisations, to assist, protect and find solutions for displaced children.

With your help, we can ensure separated children are cared for and have access to family tracing and reunification services, that newborns are registered at birth, and children with disabilities are supported.

UNHCR also helps children access education, healthcare and psychosocial support, and provides a range of sport, art, technology and environmental programs – empowering young people to build better futures.

Azaiya's Story

After living with impaired vision for much of his six years, Azaiya recalls the exact moment things became clear again thanks to the work of UNHCR and one of its partners.

“The first thing I saw was the shining white hospital dress I was wearing,” he recalls. “I am happy I can see. And that I can go to school.”

When Azaiya fled Cameroon three years earlier, cataracts meant he could hardly distinguish light from darkness, and he could not take a step on his own. His stepsister, 39-year-old Onal, had to carry him through the forests to safety.

They sought refuge at Ikyogen refugee settlement in south-east Nigeria, which UNHCR built to receive families fleeing the conflict between secessionist forces in Cameroon and the military,

Life in the camp was difficult for Azaiya. Someone had to lead him to the latrine by hand and going to school was a distant dream.

But help came when UNHCR staff reported his difficulties to health partner FHI 360. Medics promptly diagnosed congenital cataracts – a lens opacity present since birth.

After undergoing eye surgery, Azaiya returned to the settlement equipped with a pair of glasses and with his world opened up.

While his vision is still classed as ‘low,’ he does not have to depend on others to move about. More importantly, he can go to school unimpeded.

The other children love to hear the story of how he got his sight back and Azaiya enjoys the attention. Inspired by the surgeon who changed his life, he wants to become one too and work in a hospital one day.

"I am happy I can see and that I can go to school."

Azaiya, a six-year-old Cameroonian refugee now living in Nigeria, has been able to return to school after undergoing cataract surgery.

Azaiya, a six-year-old boy from Cameroon, sits with classmates during a lesson
© UNHCR/Roland Shonbauer

Our fundraising impact

The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.

Humanitarian programs