This year, on the occasion of the International Migrants Day – which has been celebrated on December 18, 2000 – the Refugee Council, in collaboration with the association Famiglie Insieme, has made Young and Alone: Without My Mum, a stop-motion short film about the horrors of war, and the daily conflicts in which children are removed from their families and left with no choice but to flee alone for their safety.
Without My Mum was created by Catherine Prowse – a London-based stop-motion animation director, set designer and model maker – and tells the story of a mother and her young son, whose family relationship changes instantly when the violent situation forces the mother to make a devastating decision: stay at home and in her country while it quickly turns into a conflict zone, or protect her son and bring him to safety – in any way possible. In total desperation she chooses the latter option and, even if her son finds security in Britain and support from an adoptive family, there is no happy ending as the teenager is traumatised by the separation from his mother, which breaks the prospect of a future with her.
This short film is part of the Families Together campaign – from which it has been funded – to raise public awareness of the plight of refugee children who cannot be reunited with any of their families in Britain because of the unfair and very restrictive rules that apply in the country.
This is because unlike most other European countries, which actively support the family reunification of refugee children, UK immigration rules deny them the right to reunite with any family member who is still overseas. The aim is to convey to viewers that having to flee home for these kinds of reasons is something that could potentially happen to anyone, including them.