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Albana's Story
Kosovo
June 1999
Age: Six years

At six years of age, most children can happily recall memories of birthday parties, starting school or losing their first tooth. The first memory Albana recalls is her home burning down with her two uncles inside as her family quickly escaped from the invading soldiers.

Albana was forced to flee from her Kosovo home as Serbian soldiers burned everything in sight. Her family fled by foot with nothing - no clothes, no food, no toys. The family travelled for about three to four weeks to get to the border at Kukes, Albania.

What does Albana remember of her journey?

"Walking for many days. Sometimes my mother carried me," she says.

Once she was in the safety of a refugee camp, Albana was given counselling for the trauma she had suffered during the war.

The children draw pictures to help them cope with what happened. That can be easier than having to talk about the things they would rather forget.

Albana draws a picture of her house, surrounded by little birds and delicate flowers. She remembers her house with bright colours of blue, green and yellow, and a pathway up to her front door.

But look a little closer, and you'll notice the roof is engulfed in flames. The fire is destroying both her home and her uncle. Sad memories for a little girl who wants only to forget.