Experience Life Through a Refugee’s Eyes in This Interactive Exhibit
It’s been called the largest refugee crisis since World War II, and 50 percent of the displaced people are women and children. Fully 65.3 million refugees from nations ravaged by war and sectarian violence, among other problems, have been forced from their homes—not by choice but for survival. Despite the horrors people are fleeing, as has been seen in Europe, anti-refugee rhetoric from American politicians and political talking heads has escalated, stoking a sense of fear rather than empathy.
Changing that sentiment is one of the goals of Forced From Home, a new multimedia exhibit from international humanitarian nonprofit Doctors Without Borders. The exhibit, which is set up at the base of the Washington Monument until Oct. 9 and will visit other U.S. cities over the next few months, allows visitors to walk in the shoes of people who are peaceful victims of circumstances over which they had no control.
“The exhibition’s goal is to provide a bridge, to make the crisis more proximal for U.S. citizens,” Vito Castelgrande, special projects coordinator for Doctors Without Borders, said in an interview with TakePart. “A lot of what we see in the news is very distant. We think, ‘Oh, it’s over there; it’s not our problem.’ But the people that are forced from their homes, they don’t want to leave. They’re people just like you and I—parents, doctors, nurses, lawyers—put into very dire situations.”
The exhibit is based on information, images, and videos collected through work that Doctors Without Borders has done for rescue missions, refugee camps, and emergency medical projects around the world. Through conversations with aid workers, virtual reality, and interactive displays, the exhibit takes the viewer through causes of displacement, the tough choices refugees face when leaving home, and the challenges in their journeys to safety.
Following are six images of the exhibit. From Washington, it heads to Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, with the intention of a three-year tour to follow.