One Day, I Will​

"I just want a career that lets me be independent. It's pretty simple really: I want to be in charge of my own life and not have anyone else make decisions for me."

- Sarita, Nepal

"As the world faces unsustainable levels of inequality, we need education – the great equalizer – more than ever."

– United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

"These children are like children everywhere – they dream of becoming a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer. The difference is that most of them are forcibly displaced and struggling simply to stay safe and survive. With the right tools and the right kind of support, we can help them realise their dreams."

– United Nations Deputy Secretary-General
Amina J. Mohamed

"These photographs highlight the crucial role of education for children in humanitarian crises. They show that even in the world’s most desperate situations, children have hope, strength and determination to bring about change. It is our job to protect and support them. And for that, global solidarity has never been more important."

– United Nations Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency response Coordinator
Mark Lowcock

One person in 18 is currently caught up in a humanitarian crisis. These crises can be caused by conflict, natural disasters or, as is the case right now, a global pandemic. Around the world, more than 258 million people need humanitarian assistance just to survive.

This exhibit documents the hopes and dreams of children trapped in crises. All aged between 6 and 18 years old, the youth featured here have dressed up to show us who they want to be when they grow up, using costumes and props from their immediate surroundings. By tapping into each child’s vision for the future, photographer Vincent Tremeau gives us a unique glimpse into their current circumstances and challenges.

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo

The crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian emergencies. Humanitarian need is largely driven by armed conflict, poverty and natural disasters, such as floods. There are more than 100 different armed factions and militia groups in the country.

An estimated 25.6 million Congolese are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in 2020. They face persistent human rights violations, displacement, severe food insecurity, chronic malnutrition and disease outbreaks such as cholera, measles and Ebola. The levels of conflict-related sexual violence are alarming.

When people flee violence in search for safety they often end up in isolated locations — losing access to essential goods and services such as health care, safe water and sanitation, and education.

A camp for internally displaced people in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Displacement and violence have plagued the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in this region. Some families have been displaced more than ten times in the past decade only. [Photo OCHA/Giles Clarke]

Françoise, 15, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nurse


"I am 15 years old and I have a child named Chance. He is 1 year old. When I go to school, I am not ashamed of anything. But others cannot understand why I am a student while I already have a child. I tell them that if I study, it is precisely because I want to help my child."

Chandi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Basket Weaver


"I would like to learn how to make baskets because it will help me, my future children and my little brothers and sisters. Maybe I will get married to someone irresponsible, dirty or even an alcoholic. If I have to marry such a husband, I will sell my baskets to pay for my children’s school expenses and to buy them food."

Patrick, 12 years old, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Soldier


"I want to be a soldier, because I would like to fight for the population. Because my community already fled several times. Me too I fled my village 12 times already. Every time we flee, we are not really happy, because we have to go to sleep in the bush, in places we don’t really know and that don’t protect us. I don’t really like war. Because during war time, we can hear gunshots all the time, it hurts my ears and I don’t like that."

Diem, 11 years old, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mason


"One day I will be a good mason, like my father. He already started to teach me. When armed men came to my village, they took away my mother and killed her. We fled with my father. Now I start again going to school. I would like to be a mason to build brick houses. Our house for now is made of mud, but we will soon start to make it better. A brick house will enable us to sleep well at night. Because in our house, with the straw, there is seepage and we are always disturbed by it."

Agnès, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Teacher


"I am in first grade. I don’t know my age. I would like to teach to children so they can become smart."

Paradoxe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Soldier


"I don’t know my exact age, and I don’t go to school. One day I will be a soldier, to fight other soldiers. Soldiers are not kind because they killed my brother."

Guilin, 10 years old, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Soldier


"I am in first grade at school. One day I want to be a soldier."

The Rohingya Crisis

Extreme violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya across the border into Cox’s Bazar in late 2017, creating the largest refugee camp on the planet. Around 860,000 Rohingya now live there as refugees. The Government and humanitarian agencies are providing assistance to refugees and the host communities who have generously helped support people in direst need. Preventing COVID-19 amid the highly dense conditions adds further layers of challenge to daily life.

Most refugees witnessed or endured unspeakable horrors in Myanmar. Entire villages were burned to the ground, families were separated and killed, and women and girls were raped. The root causes of their plight in Myanmar have yet to be addressed and their future is uncertain. This generates considerable anxiety and distress on top of the challenging conditions in which they live.

An estimated 600,000 Rohingya remain in Myanmar. Around 130,000 of them are displaced in central Rakhine, and while most are confined to camps, all of them face restrictions on their freedom of movement and access to services. The ongoing conflict in Rakhine State continues to put them and other civilians at risk and hampers their access to humanitarian assistance.

Rohingya families flee to seek refuge in and around Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Most of them crossed from their villages in Myanmar by foot and boat, and their journeys lasted several days or weeks. [Photo OCHA/David Dare Parker]

Tasnim Sultana, 10, Bangladesh, Teacher


"I want to be a teacher because it is a professional job. My hobby is teaching and I like my teacher, so I want to be a teacher."

Ismat, 15, Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh, Doctor


"One day, I would like to become a doctor. I would like to treat Rohingya people, Bangladeshi people, all kinds of people. When I was 10 years old, back in Myanmar, I had to stop going to school. I hope one day I will be able to continue my studies."

Jesmin, 12, Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh, Soldier


"I want to become a soldier to go fight and to help save people. When four of my relatives were killed in Myanmar, we had to leave our home and we came here to Bangladesh. I feel better here than in Myanmar because we are getting food and we are able to sleep. In Myanmar, we were always afraid and couldn’t sleep at night."

Towhidul Islam, 11, Bangladesh, Scientist


"I want to become a scientist to develop my country. This is my aim, this is my dream. We know Bangladesh is a developing country, we should make our country developed, and to make our country developed we need scientists. I did an experiment that when I mix the salt in water, and then I put an egg in the water, then it will not go up and it will not fall down, it will stay in the middle site. It shows that in the salt, egg is up, and in the water egg goes down. But when salt and water mix together then it cannot go up and it cannot fall down, it will be in the middle site."

Lake Chad Basin

Neglected and affected by climate change and conflict, millions of people are fighting a daily battle to survive in the Lake Chad Basin, an area which covers north-eastern Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

The brutal conflict has uprooted about 2.8 million people, and left nearly 5.2 million people severely food insecure. Malnutrition in conflict-affected areas risks deteriorating fast. Five hundred thousand children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition. In addition, there have been mass kidnappings of children, especially girls, as well as sexual violence, forced recruitment of children and other violations of human rights.

The violence and fighting have also destroyed food crops, economies and infrastructure. Half a million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

Emergency relief is vital to saving lives and avoiding famine in the region. However, the security situation makes it difficult to access everyone who needs help. It is estimated that in north-eastern Nigeria alone, hundreds of thousands of people are cut off from outside assistance. According to the revised humanitarian response plans in the three countries, 12.5 million people in the affected regions now need urgent assistance - 1.7 million more than at the beginning of the year.

Children are playing in a camp for internally displaced people in Rann, north-east Nigeria. About 50,000 people live here, and are unable to return to their homes due to violence and insecurity. Pictured here Serah, 7, one of the IDPs living in Rann, Borno State, Nigeria. [Photo OCHA/Yasmina Guerda]

Fatime, 7, Chad, Driver


"The gunshots woke me up when our camp was attacked. Everybody was panicked. I could not run as fast as my brothers but I tried to follow them. I didn’t want to lose my family. The most difficult thing was not eating during 4 days. When I grow up I want to be a driver. I don’t know how but I want to learn. I could do some small business and help my family with shopping."

Tahar Mohamed, 8, Chad, Headmaster


"We could save some of our camels when our camp was attacked by Boko Haram. I was riding my camel and observing behind us once we fled. My father told me to start screaming if I saw any danger. The first night I slept on a tree, because I was too afraid. One day I want to be school headmaster. I liked our headmaster in my village. I want to be like him. He made us laugh and he motivated us."

Khadija, 15, Nigerian refugee in Chad, Computer engineer


"I want to work in IT to learn and share knowledge. I was born in a remote village in north-eastern Nigeria with no school and no clean drinking water. What I have learned is that with the Internet, even if you don’t know something, somebody in the world has what you need. It is the best way to share knowledge."

Fatime, 10, Chad, Jewelry seller


"My family had a good life before fleeing our village. My father was selling camels to rich people. Now we’re alive, thank God, but we’ve lost everything, our camels, our jewels, everything. The journey was too long without our camels. When I grow up I want to sell jewels. In my culture it’s a shame if a girl doesn’t wear jewels. I want girls and women to wear beautiful things."

Kaltouma, 11, Chad, Farmer


"My dad was killed when our camp was attacked. He was trying to gather some of our belongings to join us but Boko Haram caught him. One day I want to become a farmer. That’s the only job where I can be sure to feed my family."

Adama, 14, Nigerian refugee in Chad, Football player


"One day I want to become a football player. Of course women can play football, I saw it on TV once. Some boys in the camp say that football is only for men, but when they say that I take the ball and I tell them, try me!"

Martha, 14, Nigerian refugee in Chad, Police Officer


"I will be a police officer to catch criminals like Boko Haram. I will use a weapon if I have to."

Nepal

In rural Nepal, poverty and gender inequality mean that girls are often married off before their 18th birthdays. More than 48 per cent of adult women report that they were married before reaching age 18.

Nepal is highly vulnerable to natural hazards, particularly earthquakes and floods. The country’s mountainous terrain poses significant logistical challenges to access and deliver relief to remote areas.

Twenty-six year old Nirmala lives with her in-laws and 3 year old daughter in a temporary shelter that was constructed after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Her house was completely damaged during the earthquake and therefore, there are unable to return home. Nirmala and her in-laws work in the field to make a living, while her husband has gone abroad to earn money and support his family. [Photo OCHA/Anthony Burke]

Sarita, Nepal, Engineer


"I just want a career that lets me be independent. It's pretty simple really: I want to be in charge of my own life and not have anyone else make decisions for me. I am no less capable than a man, but a lot of villagers in my community still disapprove of women working, so I have a lot of challenges to overcome."

Poola, 18, Nepal, Air Stewardess


"I don’t plan to get married until I’m 22, or even later, because I need to spend some time practicing my flying first. I’ve never travelled anywhere before, but I think I would be a very good air stewardess because I would be so excited all the time. Being up high doesn’t scare me. Nothing scares me. The most worried I’ve ever been has been about maths at school. Maths really stresses me out."

Rupali, 17, Nepal, Tailor


"Thinking about what I’d like to do makes me feel sad, because I don’t know if I’ll be allowed to do it. I’ve been married for five years – since I was 12 – but I haven’t gone to live with my husband yet. That’s happening in about three weeks’ time, when a ceremony called ‘Gauna’ will take place. I have a lot of feelings about it all – far too many feelings to ever put into words. I was so young when we were first engaged, and now I have to go and live with a completely new family, even though I’ve never met them before. I haven’t told my parents this, but I’m very very scared. I just wish they’d asked me for my permission. I don’t even know how old my husband is. So when I say I want to be a tailor, that’s true. But I know I won’t be the person who gets to decide if that’s my destiny or not."

Parmila, 18, Nepal, Social worker


"I see cases of child marriage and violence against women in my village all the time, and I really want to end it. Violence doesn’t have to involve hitting somebody – I think keeping a woman inside all the time and not giving her any freedom is violence too. That’s what it used to be like in my family. My mum wasn’t allowed to go out, and she always had to serve the men first. It used to make me so angry to watch her live like that. In the end, my friends and I sat my parents down and explained that this wasn’t acceptable. I was really nervous beforehand, but now things are better and my mum is proud of me. Sometimes she walks over to me and puts her hand on my shoulder and says, ‘my daughter is doing good work. She’s changing things. She won’t be like me’."

Aseema, 16, Nepal, Vegetable producer


"My favourite vegetables are cauliflowers. It takes a lot of skill to grow a good cauliflower, and that’s a skill I don’t have yet. I really hope that in the future I’ll be able to learn."

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone was the country hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak, with more than 14,000 cases, over 3,500 deaths and 4,000 survivors.

The first case was detected in Guinea in March 2014. The virus then spread to neighbouring countries, including Sierra Leone.

More than 10,000 people in West Africa died of Ebola during the latest epidemic.

A boy on his way to school in Moyamba Junction, Sierra Leone. [Photo/Vincent Tremeau]

Michael, 14, Sierra Leone, Doctor


"One day I will be a doctor to help people as they helped me when I was ill. 26 people died in my family because of Ebola including my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, my grandfather, my grandmother, my uncle, my nephews, my niece… Now I am staying with my aunt."

Ramatu Bamana, 15, Sierra Leone, Nurse


"One day I want to be a nurse. My father was sick with Ebola, nobody could take care of my father, only me. I had left home, somebody called me saying my father was not well, so I had to go there and watch him because nobody would go to my father, only me could. I tried my very best, but I didn’t succeed so now my father is dead. Now I live with my auntie. That’s why I want to be a nurse: if I am a nurse I will cure my father and my mother and all other people I know. I will study hard and I will go to school, I will do science and maths."

Hawa, 18, with her daughter, Sierra Leone, Business woman


"I want to be a businesswoman so that I can help my mother and my daughter. I stopped going to school last year before I got pregnant. My father could not pay for the school fees anymore, so I had to stay at home. Later that year my father died of Ebola. He never got the chance to see my daughter. Today we live only with my mother. She is the one who supports us. I am trying to work at the market sometimes, so I can help. One day I will have my own shop there."

Franck, 13, Sierra Leone, Lawyer


"One day I will be a lawyer, because that will allow me to help my people and my colleagues, especially girls. I want to help girls because some men abuse them. One example I know of is this girl who was raped, down the road. She was 9. As a lawyer, I will help the girl: I would take the case, get the perpetrator, and get him locked up. I will defend the girls because they are not the defaulters. The perpetrators are the defaulters. I will study hard in school to be a lawyer."

Iraq

Almost three years after Iraq’s military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ended, social, ethnic and sectarian tensions persist. Humanitarian partners are operating in increasingly unstable political and security contexts.

Approximately 1.4 million people remain internally displaced in Iraq, and the country also hosts over 250,000 Syrian refugees. Over half of them have been displaced for more than four years. Insecurity, lack of work opportunities, and destroyed or damaged housing and infrastructure hamper people’s ability to return home. Transitioning this population towards durable solutions remains at the top of the United Nations priorities.

Syria

As the Syria crisis nears its tenth year, the scale, severity and complexity of humanitarian needs remain extensive. More than 11 million people are in need, including 9.3 million people who are food insecure. The crisis created more than 6.7 million refugees and displaced a further 6.7 million Syrians inside their own country. Armed conflict in parts of Syria continues to cause humanitarian suffering, but the situation has been further exacerbated by the ongoing economic crisis and COVID-19.

The price for basic food items has increased by nearly 250 per cent in the last year. Eight in 10 people in Syria live below the poverty line. Families face hard choices to either put food on the table or a roof over their heads, or keep their children warm or send them to school.

Through family and community support structures, humanitarian non-governmental organizations and State institutions, Syrians themselves continue to be the main responders to the crisis. Complementing their efforts, humanitarian organizations have mounted one of the largest responses in the world.

15 September 2014, Dahuk, Iraq: Now, winter is fast approaching, threatening to compound the already dire situation. It’s estimated that 600,000 people are in immediate need of winterization assistance, including thermal blankets, heaters and fuel. [Photo OCHA/Iason Athanasiadis]

Gheena, 10, Iraq, Nurse


"My mum is a nurse and it looks like an easy job. She was busy when we lived in Mosul, but now that we live in a camp, she is at home most of the time. She says she’s counting on me to go to school for a long time, and not to get married yet. I laughed when she said that. As if I want to get married."

Dina, 11, Iraq, Engineer


"Daesh is destroying Iraq, so I want a job that lets me build it back again. I had my own bedroom in my old house, before it got burned down. These days, there are 11 of us in one tent. I don’t know if you have tried, but it is really hard to fit 11 people in one tent."

Ahlam, 12, Iraq, Dentist


"I want to be a dentist to help people when they are in pain."

Zuha, 10, Iraq, Artist


"I do art nearly every day in the camp. I like drawing flowers and houses the most. But when I will be an artist, I won’t sell my paintings. I’ll just hang them in my house. My mum says it’s just as important to be happy as it is to make money. She says my artwork will make other people happy too. That’s why she hangs my pictures in our tent, to make it prettier."

Lorand, 13, Syrian refugee in Iraq, Breakdancer


"People tell me that breakdancing is just for boys, but it doesn’t make sense as I am much better at it than any of them. I think it is OK to be different. My friend Bellal is 15, and she dyed her hair blue to rebel against everybody else. We laugh a lot together and talk about the fact that if we keep this up, no boys will want to marry us and we can be free forever. Two of my friends had to get married this year. They were 12 and 13 years old, and I have not seen either of them since, because their mothers-in-law don’t let them leave their tents. The night before her wedding, one of them came to see me and we sat on the ground while she cried because she was so scared."

Halaz, 14, Syrian refugee in Iraq, Human rights lawyer


"I’m not going to become just any kind of lawyer – I’m going to become a human rights lawyer, and I’ll work for free to defend anyone who’s facing problems during wars and conflicts. But it’s kind of a good and bad career choice, because if I want a lot of work, then there will need to be more wars. I hate wars. When we were preparing to leave Syria, there were bullets and bombs everywhere, and my brother ended up getting shrapnel in his eyes and legs. I just wish that all the politicians could sit down in a room and make a plan they could all agree on."

Central Sahel

The Central Sahel is the epicentre of one of the world's fastest-growing humanitarian crises.

More than 13 million people, including 7 million children, require urgent humanitarian assistance in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger – five million more than estimated at the beginning of the year 2020.

In less than two years, violence and insecurity have pushed 7.4 million people in Central Sahel to acute hunger levels – three times the number one year ago – and 1.5 million people have been forced from their homes by violence, a twenty-fold increase in two years.

Gender-based violence has spiked, millions of children are out of school, and basic health and social services are lacking. Lockdowns and other COVID-19 prevention measures have pushed an additional 6 million people in the region into extreme poverty.

Last year 81 aid workers were wounded, kidnapped or killed in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, according to the Aid Worker Security Database. In 2019 the number of attacks on aid workers in Mali was double the number in 2018.

Women cross the road next to a camp for internally displaced persons in Diffa, south-east Niger. Violence in neighbouring Nigeria has forced millions of people to flee their homes. [Photo/Vincent Tremeau]

Sakima, 8, Niger, Teacher


"My father told me that later I will be a teacher like him. I would like to teach to third grade children because I understood everything the teacher taught us."

Abdel Malik Chaibou, 10, Niger, Shepherd


"One day I will be a shepherd, to drive animals to grazing lands. My favorite animal is the sheep."

Fatimata, 10, Niger, Islamic teacher


"One day I will be a teacher in an Islamic school to help people know better their religion and avoid disputes."

Abdoulmalik Sadarachi, 10, Niger, Doctor


"My dad is a driver, but I want to be a doctor, so I can immunize people from the village."

Habiba, 13, Nigerian refugee in Niger, Journalist


"I would like to be a journalist when I grow up, because I want to inform people on the things that are happening around the world."

David, Mali, President


"I want to be the President of Mali because it is a good job and also there is a lot of money in it. I would work well for my country."

Habou Lamirou, Niger, Driver


"I want to be a driver so I can help my parents."

Amina, 10, Nigerian refugee in Niger, Teacher


"I come from Nigeria. When I grow up, I want to become a teacher."

Hassane, 15, Nigerian refugee in Niger, Soldier


"I want to become a soldier to eliminate Boko Haram. I come from Baga in Nigeria. I came to Diffa with my grand-mother after Boko Haram attacked our village. it has been 6 months now we fled Nigeria."

Adama, 10, Nigerian refugee in Niger, Soldier


"I come from Baga, Nigeria. I want to become a soldier so I can eradicate Boko Haram. I want to knock them out as they have been killing people. We are four of us, in my family, who left Baga to come to Diffa with our grand-father."

Oumarou, Nigerian refugee in Niger, Soldier


"I come from Baga, in Nigeria. It has been three months now since we fled from home. I want to become a soldier one day to fight and eradicate Boko Haram from my country."

Fatima, 12, Nigerian refugee in Niger, Policewoman


"I come from Baga, Nigeria. I want to be a policewoman. I want to help fight Boko Haram to avenge my muslim brothers. I know other policewoman who used to be my neighbors, I liked them a lot and the work they did for the community."

Soumaila Konaté, Mali, Forester


"One day I will be a forester, so I can have money."

Issouf, Mali, Chicken Farmer


"I want to be a chicken farmer like my father, and also because I like chicken."

Aicha, 12, Nigerian refugee in Niger, Lawyer


"I come from Damassak in Nigeria. I would like to become a lawyer to defend people’s rights. I was born without arms and legs, but I want to achieve my goal in life."

Central African Republic

The crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the world’s worst crises, yet it remains largely ignored. Over half of the population desperately needs humanitarian assistance, and one in four Central Africans is displaced, either inside or outside the country.

The continued rise of armed groups’ activities, intercommunal conflict and violent confrontations over the control of natural resources have further eroded the population’s capacity to sustain multiple shocks.

As of September 2020, almost 641,000 people are internally displaced – an 8 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2019 – and COVID-19 has inflicted a devastating blow to the economic sector. The closure of schools exposed hundreds of thousands of children to additional risks of recruitment into armed groups and the worst forms of labour, notably in mines. One case of gender-based violence is recorded every hour, and the number of recorded cases doubled in the capital, Bangui. Food insecurity and malnutrition have spread to the urban centre. Only one in three Central Africans has access to safe and drinkable water and sanitation facilities.

CAR is also one of the most dangerous countries for humanitarian workers, with more than one incident against humanitarian workers recorded each day.

Bangui, Central African Republic - 27 February 2014. A displaced child at the M'Poko Air Force base where thousands of families have taken shelter fleeing violence that has largely split communities along religious lines. [Photo OCHA/Phil Moore]

Amadou, Central African Republic, Herder


"One day I will be a herder like my father used to be."

Aliou, Central African Republic, Football player


"I want to be a soccer player in Paris."

Chaibou, Central African Republic, Pilot


"One day, I want to be a pilot."

Ibrahim, Central African Republic, Soldier


"One day, I will be a soldier."

Hassan, Central African Republic, Soldier


"One day, I want to be a soldier."

Awa, Central African Republic, Teacher


"One day, I will be a teacher."

Mustafa, Central African Republic, Photographer


"One day, I want to be a photographer."

Mahamat, Central African Republic, Football player or musician


"One day, I will be a musician, or a football player in Barcelona."

Maimouna, Central African Republic, Nurse


"One day I want to be a nurse."

Aladi, Central African Republic, Diamond Collector


"One day, I want to be a diamond collector."

Photography by Vincent Tremeau presented by UNOCHA

Vincent Tremeau, born in 1984, is a French photographer based in Dakar, Senegal. After graduating in Law from the University of Toulouse, he undertook several missions as a humanitarian worker in crisis-affected countries where his interest in photography was stimulated by its power as a tool to testify and raise awareness of people’s conditions in times of turmoil. From 2014, Tremeau pursued his commitment as an independent photographer, and started documenting several humanitarian crises across Africa, Asia, and South America. Witnessing the children’s difficulties in accessing education, Tremeau started the "One Day, I Will" project on youth in November 2014. Combining an artistic approach with a documentary purpose, Tremeau portrays the hopes and perspectives of the future generation in Africa.

Artist Statement