In early 2023, at least one out of every three migrants stopped or detained by authorities in Mexico was a minor, according to National Migration Institute, such as Reynosa, affect their physical and emotional well-being. Little Birds animated documentary is a seven-minute journey through the wounds of uprooting, the multiple risks along the way, and the dreams that encourage seven migrant children waiting indefinitely at a shelter in Reynosa, near the US border. Little Birds seeks to approach the public through real stories about what MSF teams in northern Mexico see in their daily activities, in the hope that it will touch their hearts and join our calls for a safe and dignified asylum system that protects the lives of migrants.

“Little Birds”: MSF returns to Ottawa’s Winterlude Festival

Come meet Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staff at our “Little Birds” ice sculpture during Winterlude and write a personal message in solidarity with the over 100 million people, including children who have been forcibly displaced.

  • Start Date: February 2, 2024, 12:00 am
  • End Date: February 19, 2024, 12:00 am
  • Location: Corner of Metcalfe and Sparks streets, Ottawa

“Did you know that when baby birds are born, their parents hide them under their wings so that rain doesn’t fall on them. They protect them.” – Valeria, El Salvador.   
Mark your calendars: Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is returning to Ottawa’s iconic Winterlude Festival to bring attention to the experiences of children affected by armed conflict and displacement around the world.   

From Feb. 2 to 19, MSF invites you to visit our over three-metre tall ice sculpture located at the corner of Metcalfe and Sparks streets.  

Titled “Little Birds,” the ice sculpture depicts a dove carrying a child. It symbolically conveys the journey of children who are among the over 100 million people on the move around the world today, fleeing conflict, persecution, disasters and the impacts of climate change.    

MSF invites you to join us at Winterlude 2024 to show your solidarity with children who are forcibly displaced by writing a personal message of support on a ribbon encircling our “Little Birds” sculpture, then snap a photo, tag @msfcanada on Instagram and share.  

 We also invite you to speak directly with MSF health workers and staff onsite from the Ottawa area each weekend of the three-week festival. Learn firsthand how we respond to the healthcare needs of people who are displaced worldwide.  

About the sculpture 

Our MSF sculpture is inspired by the animated short film “Little Birds,” which centres the voices and drawings of seven children who live in a shelter in northern Mexico where MSF teams provide mental health support. Despite immense hardships, their dreams survive and in their own words the children recount their fears, the wounds of being uprooted, the risks they face on their journey and the dreams that push and lift their spirits.  

Two MSF staff looking at the Little Birds ice sculpture at Winterlude Ottawa 2024.

 MSF teams working along migration routes around the world report that during mental health consultations, children share feelings of sadness, nostalgia for their old life, fear, worry and constant stress. These feelings come from both the traumas survived along the migration route and the deplorable conditions they’re forced to live in such as overcrowded shelters, makeshift camps or on the street.  

Watch the mini documentary “Little Birds”   

 For the full schedule and to see times when MSF staff will be present at the ice sculpture, please visit the event website.