Let me tell you my story. Words and drawings by Colombian refugee children in Ecuador

"I lived in a big house, a very big one. I liked being there and had many friends and two brothers. Some crocodiles came and destroyed my big house. The crocodiles then left and me and my family went to a small house."

The words of Antonio, a seven-year-old boy, reflect in simple terms the impact of the Colombian conflict on children. Through their words and drawings in “Let me tell you my story”, we see from a raw children’s perspective the violence and displacement experienced by those fleeing Colombia, as well as their new beginnings as refugees in Ecuador. Far from their familiar surroundings, the children also tell of the difficulties they face as strangers in a new country, adapting to a new environment, a new life.

Ecuador hosts the largest number of refugees in Latin America, with 55,480 recognized refugees as of December 2012. Twenty-three percent of refugees in Ecuador are children and adolescents. For them, school represents one of the main means of integration into their new environment. For them, integration, in school and in their neighborhood, is an essential link to their new life.