November 01, 2016

“Forced From Home” Outdoor Exhibition Moves to Independence Mall, Experienced Aid Workers Share Firsthand Accounts of Global Refugee Crisis

PHILADELPHIA, NOVEMBER 2, 2016 – The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opens its free exhibition on the global refugee crisis in Philadelphia this week. Thousands are expected to visit “Forced From Home” at Independence Mall. The public educational campaign seeks to put a face on the ongoing crisis through guided tours and virtual reality (VR) film. Forced From Home discusses the migration of millions, illustrates the conditions in which refugees live and offers the opportunity for aid workers to share their experiences helping displaced people around the world. 

Forced From Home will conclude its Northeast tour in Philadelphia and will be open November 5-13. The exhibition launched in New York in September and traveled to Washington, D.C., Boston and Pittsburgh. To date, nearly 15,000 visitors have participated in the interactive tour. 

“This exhibit confronts visitors with the impossible choices millions of people face each day as they run from horrific war, persecution, and economic deprivation,” said Jason Cone, executive director for MSF-USA. “Our objective is to provide a sense of what people experience as they cross treacherous seas, travel through dangerous migratory routes and arrive at refugee camps.” 

Forced From Home is designed to illustrate the reality of displacement and bring the refugee crisis closer to home. Visitors navigate through the 10,000-square-foot, immersive exhibition space as a refugee or internally displaced person from Afghanistan, Burundi, Honduras, South Sudan or Syria.

“People fleeing for their lives are too often reduced to numbers and statistics,” said Cone. “I've talked with people in refugee and internally displaced camps from South Sudan to Lebanon. They are not much different than any of us. They are mothers and fathers wanting the best possible future for their children. They are far from passive victims. They are some of the bravest and most resilient individuals on earth that I have ever met. Through this exhibit, we put a human face on those staggering numbers to give the public a real sense of what it looks like, feels like and what it means, to be forced from home.”

Forced From Home also offers visitors a unique VR experience. MSF produced several original documentaries available onsite the exhibition. Upon arrival, visitors enter a 30-foot-diameter dome to watch an enveloping, 360-degree film bringing them up close with individuals, families and aid workers in refugee camp and displacement settings. After the tour, visitors can watch one of three original documentaries in VR that take a closer look at those who’ve escaped crises in Burundi, Honduras and Syria.  Full details for registration, related events and exhibition dates for Forced From Home are available at forcedfromhome.com. Exhibit updates can be found by following @ForcedFromHome on Twitter or Instagram.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from health care. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender, or political affiliation.

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