HI there, I’m Ewan McGregor, an actor and director, as well as an Ambassador for Unicef UK. Children are fleeing war and disaster in greater numbers than at any time since the Second World War. All over the world, around 50 million children, like 15-year-old Omaymah who you’ll meet in the film above, have been forced to leave their homes – not that many fewer than all the people in Britain. More than half have fled violence and insecurity in countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
I have travelled many times in my role as a Unicef UK Ambassador, but there was no way to prepare for the stories I heard when I visited northern Iraq recently, a country where more than 1.5 million children have been forced out of their homes by conflict.
One story etched in my memory is 10-year-old Muhammad’s. Like thousands of children, he escaped his hometown when Islamic State took over. Muhammad and his 12-year-old brother are the main breadwinners of the family. Their father has been missing for years. Thankfully, Unicef has provided a safe space where Muhammad can learn and play with other children and receive the psychological support he needs.
Mirna, an 11-year-old film-star-in-the-making, walked me round the disused shopping mall where she has lived for more than a year. She told me how the community donated food and supplies and came together to help those displaced by the conflict. I’m desperate for us to do the same in the UK, Europe and beyond. Mirna asked me to take her message to the world: “War or peace, we are all the same. We are all children”.
As an Ambassador for Unicef UK, my role is to carry the messages of children like Muhammad and Mirna, who don’t always have a voice or someone to tell their story. Now I’m delighted that Unicef UK and First News have joined forces to help give the world’s children a voice.
Explore First News Live! to watch stories of refugee children in Calais and Jordan and share with your friends. The film above tells the story of 15-year-old Omaymah, a young girl living in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan…