Doctors Without Borders Opens Interactive Exhibition on Refugee Crisis in Oakland

Forced From Home, a free, outdoor exhibition across from Lake Merritt Amphitheater, educates visitors on realities of displacement 

OAKLAND, CA, October 31, 2017 – The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), brings its exhibition to raise awareness on the plight of more than 65 million refugees and internally displaced people to Oakland through November 5. Forced From Home illustrates individual stories of the world’s displaced populations, and helps visitors better understand the medical humanitarian consequences of the global refugee crisis. 

Forced From Home is currently touring the Western U.S. It has already visited Boulder, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Portland, welcoming more than 13,000 visitors.  During the exhibition, visitors participate in an hour-long tour led by MSF aid workers to gain a deeper understanding of the stories and experiences of 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. 

While delivering emergency medical care worldwide, MSF sees firsthand the horrific conditions that drive people to risk their lives for the chance of a safer future. Forced From Home gives visitors a sense of the challenges displaced people encounter. For example, they will learn what it’s like to be squeezed onto an overcrowded rubber raft lost at sea, or to not have enough water for drinking or washing. They will also be confronted with the near 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. The exhibition 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, the tour 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. 

“Oakland is proud to have been selected to host the Doctors Without Borders interactive exhibit, Forced From Home,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Oaklanders have a long history of being outspoken advocates for civil and human rights, at home and abroad, and this free exhibit – which shows people the perspectives and hardships of a refugee in a 360-degree view –  will better inform our community about the heartbreaking realities of the global refugee crisis.”  

Further information on the exhibition and related events can be found at For tour updates, follow @ForcedFromHome on Twitter or Instagram.

Upcoming tour dates and cities:

  • October 30-November 5: Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center (parking lot) – Oakland, CA
  • November 13-19: Santa Monica Pier – Santa Monica, CA

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.