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The Refuge Press Presents: THE MIGRANT DIARIES


“I wanted to increase our understanding of who migrants are, what forces them to take such extraordinary risks in travel, and put up with so much uncertainty and ill-treatment.”

Published by the Refuge Press and available for purchase from Fordham University Press and Amazon.

What is it like to run away from a bombing, lose your family, and work out how to care for yourself in a foreign country when you are 7 years old? What do you do when the woman who promised you a good job in Europe turns out to have sold you into prostitution? What is it like to almost drown in the Mediterranean and then be confined in a garbage and rat-filled settlement on a Greek island for years?

In this book, Lynne Jones addresses these questions by combining direct testimony from children with a blazingly frank eye-witness account of providing mental health support on the front line of the migrant crisis across Europe and Central America in the last 5 years. Her diaries shine a light on what it is like to be caught up on the front lines of the migrant crises in Europe and Central America. They show how people who have fled war, poverty, disaster, and are trapped in degrading living conditions have responded with resourcefulness and creativity. In the absence of most big professional humanitarian agencies, migrants and volunteers together have created a new form of humanitarianism that challenges old ways of working.

“These events are essential for us all to understand: we all have the ability to help address them and prevent vast unnecessary suffering. Lynne describes the attempts to help, the global structures that cause and exacerbate the problems and humanitarian attempts (good and bad) to assist people. I would recommend this book to everyone I know: it is essential reading to understand these events and the people caught up in them, and to start thinking about how to help.” — Dr. Alexander Van Tulleken, Associate Professor in Infection & Population Health at University College London.

“This book matters. The people Lynne Jones describes are human beings who were in these situations just because of bad luck. And when the outside world blocked us or forgot us, we refugees struggled against the odds to help ourselves. These stories need to be told and should not be forgotten.” — Housam Jackaly, Activist, Syrian Refugee living in France

Lynne Jones, OBE, FRCPsych, PhD, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, writer, researcher, and relief worker. Jones has been engaged in assessing mental health needs, establishing, and running mental health services in disaster, conflict, and post-conflict settings since 1990. Jones has worked in areas of conflict or natural disaster including the Balkans, East and West Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East, Haiti and Central America. Most recently, she worked in the migrant crises in Europe and Central America, through which she has established a storytelling project for children: It is this period of work that is recorded in the diaries alongside some of the children’s stories.

“Lynne Jones is one of the great witnesses on this planet. But in that word “witness,” as we usually use it, something is missing. It has about it something accidental, almost passive. Reading The Migrant Diaries, you begin to understand what true witnessing is capable of being: an act of humility and courage, of sharing and healing, but above all a form of action.” — Verlyn Klinkenborg, author of The Rural Life, and Timothy; Or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, Yale University, and former member of the New York Times editorial board

Her other published works include: Then They Started Shooting: Children of the Bosnian War and the Adults They Become (Bellevue Literary Press 2013), and Outside the Asylum: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry (Orion 2017).

The Refuge Press is an independent imprint founded in 2020 with an emphasis on humanitarian and social justice issues. It publishes at least four books, and an equal number of art catalogues per year. Our books focus on humanitarian solutions as well as professional reflections on global crises.

About the IIHA

Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) prepares current and future aid workers with the knowledge and skills needed to respond effectively in times of humanitarian crisis and disaster. It achieves this through undergraduate, graduate programs, through professional workshops, webinars, research and publications. Its courses are borne of an interdisciplinary curriculum that combines academic theory with the practical experience of seasoned humanitarian professionals. Its research addresses Education in Emergencies; Children and Armed Conflict; Hunger and Conflict; Design for Humanity; Climate Change and Migration.

About the CIHC

The Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC) was founded in 1992 to promote healing and peace in countries shattered by natural disasters, armed conflicts, and ethnic violence. The Center employs its resources and unique personal contacts to stimulate interest in humanitarian issues and to promote and support innovative educational programs and publications.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact: Johanna Lawton, Managing Editor,



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