“I met Mirna, who’s an incredible character, what a wonderful little girl. She showed me around the camp that she lives in”
In 2016, Ewan travelled to Debaga camp in northern Iraq to see how the conflicts in Iraq and Syria have affected children’s lives. Among them was a girl called Mirna, with whom Ewan immediately bonded.
“Mirna told me how her family slept in a disused, half-constructed shopping mall for over a year,” said Ewan, “she introduced me to the reality of what that’s like.”
When Mirna grows up she wants to be a lawyer so that she can defend the rights of children. “Children of all countries: USA, Australia, Germany, France. All of them have rights. But children here do not have their rights. Why is that?” she says.
It’s easy to be baffled by figures – 28 million children are displaced… it’s impossible to comprehend.
But when I think that, I think of Mirna.
She’s one of them.
Children displaced and in danger
The recent conflicts that we have seen ravage Syria, Iraq and the surrounding region have forced millions of families like Mirna’s to leave their homes. More than 2.6 million children from Syria alone have been forced to flee and are living in precarious conditions in surrounding countries.
Resources in these countries are running dangerously low, pushing families to extreme measures just to survive. Early marriage, child labour and recruitment into the fighting are all very real risks.
Unicef is working in the region to provide life-saving support and long-term rehabilitation services for children. We are also improving access to basic services like health and nutrition, education, child protection and water.
Ewan’s time with Unicef
Ewan has supported Unicef since 2004 and continues to tirelessly fundraise and advocate for Unicef’s work for children worldwide.
2020 – Travelling from Argentina to LA on electric bikes for Long Way Up, Ewan and his fellow Ambassador Charley Boorman visit Unicef programmes along the way. In Bolivia, Peru and Honduras, they see first hand the difference Unicef is making to children in the remotest parts of the world.
2016 – Ewan visits Debaga camp in Iraq where he meets Mirna
2014 – Ewan supports the Unicef Glasgow Commonwealth Games partnership
2012 – Ewan McGregor: Cold Chain Mission broadcasts – a documentary film on Unicef’s work immunising the world’s hardest-to-reach children.
2012 – Ewan visits Peru for Soccer Aid to raise awareness of child poverty and malnutrition
2007 – Ewan films The Missing Face a documentary highlighting Unicef’s work with children affected by HIV and AIDs in Malawi.
2007 – Ewan takes part in The Long Way Down and see’s Unicef’s work with child soldiers in Uganda and land mine awareness in Ethiopia.
2004 – Ewan visits Unicef programmes in Ukraine, Kazakhtan and Mongolia while filming The Long Way Round