What does home mean to you?

Home is something everyone can identify with. Whether it’s an armchair, a book, or a person, there’s always one symbol that takes you right back to that feeling of home.

But what does home mean when you’ve been forced to flee yours, because of war and persecution; what makes somewhere new a home?

To explore #WhatHomeMeans to refugees, their loved ones and supporters, we invite you to be a part of the Gallery of the (New) Home by uploading a photograph of something that makes you feel at home.

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Karachi

Home for me is where there is freedom, where you can choose freely whatever you think, Speak, Write or worship.


Karachi, Pakistan.

Helpful person

It makes me feel peaceful

Kim hiyo, age 19


St. Patrick's Cathedral, Karachi.

Home for me is where there is freedom, where you can choose freely whatever you think, Speak, Write or worship, I am here because I have freedom.



I love reading and cooking, so this picture sums up my two loves and is complete with the two loves of my life, Gin & Ger. For me, home is where you’re happy – reading, food and my two cats make me happy so for me, this is home! I love celebrating and at Christmas, we all come together as a family, and it feels like home. It doesn’t matter where we are, what country we’re in or if we’re all crammed into one small room, we’re always together at Christmas, usually in our Christmas socks, together. For me this is home.


Growing up in a family where we moved and travelled a lot, Owly was my companion when I was overwhelmed or homesick, and in the decades since he has been at my side in every new place I have lived in, whether that’s for a day, a month, a year or ten. He reminds me that from a young age I have always found my way thanks to the wisdom and kindness of others, and that is what home is for me – not a particular place, but the feeling of becoming part of a new community through shared experiences, overcoming adversity together and building friendships that can last a lifetime.

Emma Cherniavsky, Chief Executive, UK for UNHCR

Lunchtimes in Nigeria meant sitting at the low table with my Dad’s mug and eating garri. I tried my best to share with my brother but still our spoons would clash. But soon we would laugh then make some songs then laugh some more.


The Jasmine flower in Damascus has its unique significance. Anyone who visits Damascus will notice how this particular flower is found everywhere in the city. The smell literally makes one fall in love with the city. Most of the locals will tell you that the Jasmine flower is what they love the most about the place. There are so many potential photos I could have sent, I found it hard to choose just one because everything reminds me of Syria for example, the sea, the sky, the water, and family. Especially the Eid holiday because I know for a fact that I will never be able to experience the joy and celebrate Eid as I used to in Syria.


Home is a right to safety, an ability to protect your family and the freedom to occasionally squidge those tiny toes.

Theo James, UNHCR high-profile supporter and actor

Polperro harbour means home to me. No matter where I am or what I’m doing I know it’s never too long before I’m back here. Swimming, rowing, paddle boarding or simply sitting in the beach. It’s always a good day when I’m here.



Being surrounded by the smell, sounds, and people I am used to, is what Home means to me. And when I am around loved ones, with meals that connect us over the years.

Tishk, age 35


Food is happiness, and wherever it can be prepared is where I call home. It reminds me of my friends and family getting together to cook, tell stories, and laugh. It is what makes me feel safe, loved, and protected.


Home - a poem

There is a point when unknown becomes home and throws you unaware. When you’ve been near the table long enough to now pull up a chair. When the place you knew as new asks you if you have cut your hair. You feel the corners of your mouth – and soul – and notice something’s there.

Harry Baker, age 29




kenza, age 19


Have a Happy Day

My mum brought this home from USA on a Freddie Laker flight back to power cuts and three-day weeks before I had even started primary school. Through discontented winters and silver jubilees, Royal weddings, millennium bugs and dot-com booms, it sat in the corner of her kitchen counter She was the sort of person who sang her own song and did the hokey cokey when everyone was watching. ‘The world’s your lobster’ she told me when I feared getting out of bed. Now it sits on my own kitchen counter, all her sunshine radiating from one kitsch and retro yellow cookie jar, telling me to be brighter, kinder, to Have a Happy Day…

Gail Marie, age 53


View of the kitchen and beyond

The kitchen is the heart of our home a place of comfort, security and fun. The kitchen is for laughing and dancing, eating and praying.



Ray of hope

Home is like the window on a good or terrible day; in all seasons, it acts as a protective barrier and a glimpse of hope, as well as a place to remember, grieve, rejoice, and join together to raise new generations. It is the bridge between the inner and outside worlds. It is a place of meditation and observation, as well as the source of human transformation.

William, age 36

York, northYorkshrie

Home is the mother

Home is like a mother who, in the middle of a tsunami, holds up her kid and allows him to float. Home is a place of safety and security where we may relate, taste limits, learn to love, and grow our hopes and aspirations, regardless of what is happening in the outside world. Home is the psychosocial container that holds the entirety of the human person.

William, age 36

York, NorthYokshire


Home is.... seeing my son's excited face when I come home from work. He's my home no matter where we are.



Home is something special. It is not just a place. It’s somewhere safe where we all feel that we belong. Everywhere I’ve lived I keep a picture of my family by my bed. In this photograph we are in one of our first homes, where we lived with my nan when I was little. We’ve lived in many other homes since, together, and as we got older, separately. As we grow up and begin to build our own homes and lives, I keep this picture as a little piece of that first and most precious place that I call home, my family.


My family

I feel safe at the shelter because being there makes me feel comfortable and loved. When my family is around, I feel safe. When I spend every second of my life with my family, I feel safe. I feel safe at home because I know I am too far away from the conflict.


My violin

Home is where my violin is


'Klash' shoes

These are a miniature version of a pair of shoes called 'Klash'. They've been worn in Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey for hundreds of years, some even claim that Zoroaster in 600 BC was the first person to wear them! Seeing these little shoes reminds me of the depth of history that I come from. It reminds me that even though my physical home may be transient my cultural and ancestral homes stand firm.



My little family

Me, my mum, dad and sis in the park having a picnic. I arrived in London with mum and dad when I was 4. Home has been a complicated concept for me. Pockets of time with them is the only space that makes sense.



Monkey family

The monkeys remind me of my childhood and they evoke so many memories and positive emotions that their presence makes me feel 'at home'. They are now being enjoyed by the next generation, hence the outfits.

Emma, age 39


About the campaign

We’re asking the public to help us create a brand new digital exhibition: UK for UNHCR’s Gallery of the (New) Home – that will inspire us to keep working together to help refugees around the world find a safe, new place that they can call ‘home.’

More about this campaign

more than 100 million people are now displaced – that means 1 in every 78 people on earth has been forced to flee from the place they call home

What does home mean to you? Submit your image here

What does home mean to you?