Posted May 10 , 2013


Torn From Home: My Life as a Refugee traveling exhibit will visit the Waterloo Region Museum

WATERLOO REGION – A traveling exhibition on the world’s refugees takes school-age children and visitors of all ages on an inspiring, hands-on journey into the challenging lives of millions of children who are forced to flee their homes in conflict regions throughout the world. Torn From Home: My Life as a Refugee is on exhibit at the Waterloo Region Museum from June 1 to Sept. 2, 2013.

“Torn From Home: My Life as a Refugee gives the community an opportunity to gain a firsthand look into the harsh realities faced by refugee children and their families”, said Tom Reitz, Manager/Curator of the Waterloo Region Museum.

The exhibit contains seven areas: Home, Losing Home, Registration, Refugee Camp, Medical Clinic and Going Home. Visitors will learn about the shelter, food, medical care, schooling, and play activities of children in refugee camps. The exhibition recreates refugee camp settings and features interactive multimedia.

In conjunction with Torn From Home, the Waterloo Region Museum explores the history of offering refuge in Waterloo Region. Today Waterloo Region is home to a diverse population, including newcomers from a wide variety of countries and experiences. This region supports a higher population of refugees than the Canadian average with approximately 22% of all immigrants settling here being refugees. And many individuals and organizations in Waterloo Region offer support and assistance to refugees adjusting to life in Canada. By showing respect and generosity, Waterloo Region has become a place of refuge for these people.

Visitors enter at the camp entrance, where they are registered and processed as a refugee. From there, visitors walk into a replica of a refugee camp where they learn about and imagine what daily life must be like for refugee children. The exhibition allows children to touch items found in refugee camps; hear the voices and life stories of refugee children; and engage in interactive age-appropriate activities. It aims to bring awareness about the plight of some nine million refugee children around the globe.

As visitors exit the exhibition, they learn about what happens to refugees after they leave the camp, including repatriation, resettlement, and other outcomes. An interactive video kiosk encourages children to share their reflections about the exhibition.

This creative and educational exhibition was developed in partnership with Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, and international aid organizations including UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. Philanthropist Pam Omidyar helped conceive the exhibit and personally provided core funding.

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