Report – Far From Home: The 13 worst refugee crises for girls

Refugees are uniquely vulnerable. But refugee girls doubly so. When extreme violence, hunger or climate drives them from their homes, they are the first to be trafficked for sex or child labor; the first to be exploited as tools of war; and the first to lose their childhoods. Meanwhile, they are the last to be fed, the last to be enrolled in school and, too often, the last to be valued.


The United Nations created the first International Day of the Girl in 2012 to highlight challenges for girls globally and promote girls’ empowerment. The official theme for this Oct. 11 — empowering girls in crisis — comes amid an epidemic of human displacement that has forced 68.5 million people from their homes, including more than 17 million girls. So here we list the 13 worst refugee crises for girls that have mushroomed since the UN created that special day for girls 6 years ago. The crises are ranked in order of total girls displaced, both across national borders as refugees and within their countries as “internally displaced people,” or IDPs.

For each crisis, we detail a specific threat while highlighting the courage and resilience of girls who are confronting that challenge and, in many cases, overcoming it. Unfortunately, the threats are many. Teenage girls who don’t even have access to menstrual pads are sometimes forced to sell food rations to pay for them. And in crises, the global scourge of gender-based violence grows even worse for girls. At the same time, families and authorities must prioritize near-term survival over the long-term benefits that education, skills training and good health care bring. Child marriage rates soar. School attendance plummets. Especially for girls.

But while far from home, displaced girls are far from helpless. They are strong, smart, resilient, courageous and determined to break through the barriers holding them back, despite staring down some of the most difficult circumstances on Earth. Refugee girls are capable of amazing feats, especially if they have the right tools and support. So be sure to check out the end of the report and learn how you can help girls who, unlike most of us, don’t have the good fortune to live in the place they call home.

Full Report