Last year, we asked you to submit a drawing of one thing that makes you smile.

More than 1,600 drawings were submitted to the Design for a Cause campaign – a joint partnership between Australia for UNHCR and graphic design platform Canva to help refugee children access education.

“When I grow up, I am to become a doctor, to help the nation,” said South Sudanese refugee, Suzanne.

“I go to school to learn how to be a good person in the future,” added the 16-year-old.

A staggering 48 per cent of school-age refugees are currently not in school, which means around four million children aren’t getting the critical skills and opportunities they need for a stable and empowered future.

Between October and December, Canva selected the most smile-worthy drawings, transformed them into graphics, and added them to useful templates to be sold on their platform.

Afghan refugee students hold up their lap desks, supplied by Educate a Child (EAC), at the UNHCR funded Primary School for Girls in Khazana refugee village, Pakistan. @UNHCR

Zoera Daouda, 10, in the classroom. Chad is one of the operations that is benefitting from the Educate a Child program to provide quality education for Sudanese’s refugee children affected by displacement in eastern Chad. @UNHCR/ Sylvain Cherkaoui


All proceeds are going to UNHCR education programs to ensure refugee children access primary school, safe learning environments, school readiness programs, quality teachers and tools so that they can build better futures for themselves, their families and their communities.

“Being the regional winner for the African continent, it wasn't something I was expecting,” said 24-year-old winner, Kuena.


“The advice I would give young children who are planning or wishing to accomplish their dreams is to keep on pushing. They should always use available resources they have. To make every day count, to make every step count in their journey. They should not give up.”


Through their illustrations, people from around the world shared drawings of their pets, favourite foods and holiday destinations, but they also shared stories of hope and childhood memories that make them smile.

Share this:

facebook twitter

You can help

Make a donation

Every donation makes a real and lasting difference in the lives of refugees.

Organise a fundraiser

Host a bake sale, climb a mountain or do a fun run to raise funds for vital aid.