"If I could do it, you can do it" UN chief tells child refugees

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UN Secretay-General attends Refugee resettlement event in Los Angeles, where he meets with Refugee families from Syria and Guatemala. UN Photo/Mark Garten

A group of child refugees who've found a new home in California were given a special message by the UN chief on Wednesday: "If I could do it, you can do it."

During a visit to the west coast of the United States, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the children that he had once been displaced by war, and promised that he was working hard for refugee families around the world.

Matthew Wells has more.

The UN chief said that instead of having to flee, he and his family were driven out of their village as a result of the Korean War.

At the age of 6, he was displaced, and it was the UN that "came to our rescue" he said.

He had been given food, shelter and school supplies, and now he told the children listening in Los Angeles, "I am here as head of the United Nations to give school supplies to you."

He described the global refugee crisis that's now affected the lives of 65 million, as a "crisis of children" with more than half of all those displaced, or forced to leave their homelands, under the age of 18.

He told the children at the back-to-school event to "have hope, study hard" and be a "full part of your new communities."

He encouraged countries like the US to provide a safe haven for more refugees, including those from Syria.

"Let's build bridges, not walls" he said, and he urged everyone not to "give in to the forces of fear and division."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 53″

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