Lonely Planet Writer

An exhibition on the global refugee crisis is touring US cities

A free exhibition is touring cities in the USA to showcase the reality of the growing refugee crisis around the world.

Some of the items in the exhibition. Photo by Elias Williams

Forced From Home is created by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) who are an international, independent organisation bringing medical aid around the world. They have often been at the front line helping people who have been affected by events like armed conflict or natural disasters, all of which can force people to become refugees.

The exhibition is a 10,000 sq ft outdoor installation. Using photos and items taken from refugee camps, emergency medical projects and sea missions, it hopes to raise awareness of the factors that can cause people to leave their home.

360-degree footage will give a glimpse of life in a settlement. Photo by Elias Williams

They will also try and convey the various tasks that refugees must face and the choices they must make; the difficulty of their journeys, the ambiguity of their legal status and the challenges they face to get sufficient shelter, food, clean water and healthcare.

All visitors will be guided by an MSF aid worker and will get the chance to ask them questions about the reality of life as a refugee and hear stories about being on the ground during these emergency situations.

An experienced aid worker will be guiding you. Photo by Elias Williams

Technology will also be on hand to support the experience. Upon arrival, visitors can get a glimpse of life in refugee camps and settlements with the help of 360-degree video. At the end of the tour, they’ll have the option of being fitted with virtual reality headsets to watch short documentaries about individuals who have been forced to leave their home.

The 2018 tour dates for Forced From Home are:

Minneapolis: 9 -16 September
Chicago: 23-30 September
Charlotte, North Carolina: 7-14 October
Atlanta: 21-28 October
San Antonio, Texas: 4-11 November

The exhibition first opened in 2016 in the wake of what Doctors Without Borders call a “global displacement emergency”. Today 68.5 million people have left their homes, the highest number since World War II. This year’s US tour has taken on a more poignant edge as the organisation has condemned the recent change in US immigration policies.

Visitors can see the choices refugees must make. Photo by Elias Williams

“As medical providers along migration routes around the world, we see this exhibition as a way to bear witness and share the stories we hear every day—from people desperately fleeing war and violence—to the U.S. public,” said Jason Cone, MSF USA executive director. “Forced From Home is our attempt to explain why people are on the move, and why it’s unconscionable to block them from reaching safety.”