Over 900,000 people were forced to flee Mosul after Iraqi forces launched a military campaign to retake the city from Islamic State in October 2016 – including many children leaving either with their families or alone.
Photographer Brian McCarty, with the help of Destination Unknown campaign member Terre des Hommes, has told the stories of children fleeing Mosul as part of his WAR-TOYS project. Along with art therapist Myra Saad, McCarty collected drawings by children left traumatised by the violence they had experienced, and recreated their stories using toys.
Terre des Hommes is currently providing psychosocial and educational support to children in displacement camps near Mosul and Erbil – where McCarty spoke to children who had been forced to flee because of the crisis.
International observers estimate that around 90 percent of Mosul’s children did not attend school during Islamic State’s rule. However, UNICEF say around 75,000 children in western Mosul are now back in education.
Education is a fundamental right for all children, but is especially precious to children who have been forced to flee traumatic events. The psychosocial support Terre des Hommes is providing to children as they return to the classroom is key to enabling them to get their lives back on track, and restart the education that was so cruelly cut short.
All pictures: ©Brian McCarty/Terre des Hommes