The visual stories in Forced to Flee – including the examples featured in this website – are described as… (Click on the images below to enlarge.)
Organized Thematically. The visual stories are grouped into five chapters and an epilogue. In each section, the youths’ paintings answer a question posed in the workshops, such as “Why were you forced to flee?”
Contextualized. To lend historical context, several of the visual stories are by former political prisoners, including supporters of the August 8 1988 (“8888″) uprising and a leader of the 2007 Saffron Revolution.
Visually Arresting. In addition to the youths’ visual stories, the book’s art program includes maps painted by refugee youth and photographs of the youth, painting. Like the stage setting for a play, every element of the book is designed to engage readers in the youths’ powerful stories.
Emotionally Engaging. The visual stories offer rare glimpses into the innermost journeys of young refugees. Gripped by the immediacy of the youths’ visual narratives, readers gain a sense of what it means to be forced to flee, live in exile and marginalized by society.
Thought-Provoking. Captions quoting the youth “unpack” issues raised by each painting, including land confiscation, rape, forced labor, political prisoners, censorship, child soldiers, human trafficking, religious persecution and statelessness.
Committed to Diversity. The visual stories were painted by ethnically diverse refugee, asylee, migrant and stateless youth in workshops along the borders of Burma – in Thailand, India (including Delhi) and Bangladesh – and in Burma, the U.S. and Canada.
Empowering. Concluding the book is an epilogue entitled “Bridging Divides” and a “Ways to Help” appendix that is expanded upon on this website with web links and downloadable PDFs, offering readers even more ways to help refugees and promote peacebuilding in Burma.