Forced From Home, a free, outdoor exhibit, which illustrates the realities of displacement, completes West Coast tour in Santa Monica
SANTA MONICA, CA, November 15, 2017 – The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) brings its exhibition on the plight of more than 65 million refugees and internally displaced people to Santa Monica this week. Forced From Home illustrates individual stories of the world’s displaced people, and helps visitors better understand the medical humanitarian consequences of the global refugee crisis.
Santa Monica is the last stop on Forced From Home’s Western U.S. tour. This year, the exhibition visited Boulder, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, and Oakland, welcoming more than 19,000 visitors to date. Forced From Home includes an hour-long tour led by MSF aid workers that allows visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by people who’ve been forced to flee from their homes. All exhibition tour guides have worked in refugee and internally displaced settings all over the world.
MSF delivers emergency medical aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from healthcare. The organization sees firsthand the horrific conditions that drive people to risk their lives for a safer future. Forced From Home gives a sense of the challenges displaced people encounter. For example, they learn what it’s like to be squeezed onto an overcrowded rubber raft lost at sea, or to not have enough water for drinking and washing. They are also confronted with the impossible choices people must make when fleeing at a moment’s notice.
“MSF is seeing displaced individuals and families at unprecedented numbers,” said Jason Cone, MSF-USA executive director. “We provide care throughout their dangerous journeys—on rescue boats, in refugee camps, and in health centers. Forced From Home is an opportunity to bring our patients’ stories to the U.S. public, to humanize the refugee crisis, and to challenge political leaders at all levels of government to dramatically increase assistance and protections for refugees and asylum seekers.”
MSF’s medical care and mental health support alone are not enough to counter the brutal policies that severely limit access to assistance for displaced people. Forced From Home is a key aspect of MSF’s efforts to advocate for concrete policy changes to meet the urgent needs of displaced people. MSF calls upon world leaders to honor their commitments under existing international refugee and human rights conventions. Forced From Home discusses the harm caused when governments close borders, return people to places where they can face death or persecution, or leave them trapped in war zones and other situations of extreme danger.
In addition to the immersive tour through the 10,000-square-foot exhibition space, Forced From Home incorporates virtual reality and 360-degree film. These original films bring participants closer to the stories of displaced individuals and families living in Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Tanzania, and South Sudan.
“Forced from Home is an experience that closes the gap in understanding one of the gravest issues of our time,” said Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer. “Santa Monica welcomes the exhibit and encourages the community to walk in the shoes of refugees and aid workers.”
MSF visited Santa Monica Pier in 2008 with an exhibition titled, A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City, which also focused on the aid the organization provides to displaced people. At the time, the world’s displaced population was 42 million. The number has since increased by more than 20 million.
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.