Refuge Canada - The Life Jackets

by Dan Conlin, Curator

Time 0:01:22


In our section Escape by Sea in Refuge Canada we have these two life jackets that were worn by children who were rescued from an inflatable boat in the Mediterranean sea in 2015

They’re on loan to us from the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology.

These two children were in a boat with over 100 people when they were rescued.

Smugglers sell desperate families these life jackets, to parents who are eager to try and achieve an extra degree of possible safety for their children.

What’s chilling about these very small life jackets is this one in particular is not a life jacket at all, it’s a toy.

It’s meant for playing in a backyard swimming pool.

This vinyl would not stay inflated for more than a few minutes on the open ocean yet smugglers sold this to a desperate family for a lot of money.

It’s hard, as you look at these tiny life jackets, not to think about the little person who was wearing them when they were rescued in 2015.

We don’t know where this child is now. He’s somewhere in the international refugee system as his family seeks asylum in a country in the European Union.

One can only just think about the little person wearing this life jacket and it’s a reminder of the high stakes that many refugees face as they make these dangerous voyages in search of safety.

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