Girls are rarely featured in the coverage of armed conflict. Given their invisibility, one might assume that girls are somehow spared involvement in war.
Yet, not only are girls commonly targeted in armed conflict, in many ways their lives are more profoundly affected by it than other groups. However, their special needs are frequently overlooked or ignored.
More than 140 million girls live in fragile states affected by armed conflict. Of the 42 million people who have had to flee their homes because of war, 80 percent are women, children and young people. At least 10 million are estimated to be girls and young women.
Download our new book, Refugee Girls: The Invisible Faces of War
Read the stories of these extraordinary young refugee women, who took time away from their busy lives to sit down and, over the course of many hours, tell their life stories. Although they come from different cultures and regions of the world—from Liberia and Cambodia, from Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo—they have a striking number of things in common.
Most of them were caught in war and experienced grim hazards and tragic loss at the epicenter of violence, including the loss of beloved family members. Most of them endured harrowing flights from their home countries as they sought refuge abroad. Even as refugees in foreign countries, finding a safe haven proved extremely difficult for all of them, and they continued to face grave risks and enormous hardship. And although their ultimate resettlement in the United States allowed them to begin their lives anew—for which they are profoundly grateful—peace and contentment remain elusive, when they know that milions of girls and young women displaced by armed fighting are still at risk and continue to suffer throughout the world.
In recounting their stories, these women may have sometimes experienced a measure of therapeutic catharsis. But deep anguish was also triggered by revisiting their injuries and loss. These brave young women endured this for one reason only: to bring attention to millions of refugee girls still struggling to survive in war-torn countries and refugee camps.
Read their inspirational life stories, in full and in their own words.