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Young artists draw a world where kindness defeats COVID-19

Drawing in solidarity with refugees.

As countries around the world went into lockdown in response to COVID-19, 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.

This is the world they drew.

Fighting the virus and stereotypes
By 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.”

Nesime Noextension Ourstories August
Fighting the virus and stereotypes. © UNHCR / Nesime

Proud grandma
By Matika, 13, Australia

“My artwork is a pencil drawing of a grandmother from Indonesia, who I was privileged to meet and share an afternoon with. Her face shows wrinkles earned over a lifetime and her eyes show a softness from years of loving her family. I wanted to participate in sharing my artwork to support refugees. I live a life of privilege in Australia.

To be honest I was shocked to discover kids like me and whole families, including people like this grandmother with a lifetime of history, are displaced. I cannot imagine having no choice but to walk away from all you have known. As my knowledge of the world grows with my education and my travels, my desire to help strengthens. I hope that my picture shows my support.”

Matika Noextension Ourstories August
Proud grandma. © UNHCR / Matika

Refugee superhero
By Noemie, 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.”

Naomi Noextension Ourstories August
Refugee superhero. © UNHCR / Noemie

My friend from Africa
By Katura, 15, Australia

“I would like you to meet Celia, the subject of my portrait, a friend I met through a sponsorship program when I visited Mozambique in 2018. She is a grounding force in my life, and the reason I became involved with the UN, the reason I raise my voice. Celia brought home to me the inequalities that exist in the world.
Celia does not need me to save her, she just needs a hand to save herself, and it is my responsibility to stretch out my hand. We need to see the potential in every individual and look beyond their circumstances.

The UNHCR art competition was my way to raise my voice, to support all refugees to reach their full potential, and I hope you see that in Celia’s eyes.”


Katura Noextension Ourstories August
My friend from Africa. © UNHCR / Katura

Protection everywhere
By Alfa, 25, Kenya (from the 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.”

Alfar Noextension Ourstories August
Protection everywhere. © UNHCR / Alfa

Love begets love
By 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.”

Maria Noextension Ourstories August
Love begets love. © UNHCR / Maria

Everyone counts
By Josie, 8, Australia

"My artwork describes how everyone is important in the fight against COVID. I did it because I want to help refugees. I used nature as a metaphor to give my message as everyone can understand nature: 'We are all suffering from COVID like we are all under the stars', and 'but like water on fire we will put COVID out'."

Josie Noextension Ourstories August
Everyone counts. © UNHCR / Josie

Dark world, blue heart
By 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.”

Mayu Noextension Ourstories August
Dark world, blue heart. © UNHCR / Mayu

Rain of love
By Faida, 20, Rwanda

“Refugees in a camp are looking forward to receiving a heart which symbolises 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.”

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Rain of love. © UNHCR / Faida

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