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My Life as a Refugee

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Language Arts And English +5 Age Level Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

"No one plans to become a refugee—to flee your home because your life is in danger. Yet today, there are 25.9 million refugees, more than the world has seen in nearly a century.

There are many reasons a person might become a refugee.

Maybe you live in a country torn apart by war, and your house was bombed to rubble.

Maybe you live in a place where you and your family are being attacked for your religious beliefs.

Maybe you live in a region plagued by famine, and you are facing starvation.

Or maybe you are like 15-year-old Bilan, and you were chased from your home by violence."

Lewis, K. (2019, September). I Live in a Refugee Camp. Scholastic Scope.

As you read Bilan's story, look at the photos and artwork included in this collection. These include all types of refugees from many locations and times in history. 

Choose one photo or document that speaks to you. Research it by looking at the "more info" tab. You may also conduct your own personal research. You can use the questions below to guide your research and thinking.

  • What was the primary reason these people were fleeing? 
  • What made them refugees?
  •  How does this particular document make you feel?  
  • How can you make connections between the experiences of the people in the documents and Bilan's experience?

Write a (minimum) one page essay in response to this collection and the story My Life as a Refugee. Share it with me via Office 365.

Pamphlet, "70,000 American Refugees - Made in USA"

National Museum of American History

Driven Away [painting] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Line outside the US Consulate in France

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bow Meh and family in Burma, 1996

UMass Lowell Southeast Asian Digital Archive

Jewish Refugees arriving after Truman Directive (1945)

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


Smithsonian American Art Museum

Labelled 1/8 (Refugee)

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum


Smithsonian American Art Museum


Smithsonian American Art Museum