A Piece Of Home: Treasured objects from a past life

If you knew you were unexpectedly leaving your home for the very last time, what would you take with you?

BBC News spoke to people around the world about the items they chose to take with them when they suddenly had to leave where they lived.

These are their stories.

Videos produced by Paul Harris, Thomas Martienssen, Anu Anand, Lindle Markwell. Series produced by Cathy Jenkins and Molly Guinness.

The Christmas box

British woman Ophelia had just one day to leave her home with her children following years of domestic abuse.

She made sure to take the family's treasured Christmas memory box with her.

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Media caption"The box was full of memories I'd made with my children."

The handful of dirt

Rashneek Keir was forced to flee his home in Kashmir after it came under attack.

He took a handful of earth from home to Delhi where he now lives in exile.

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Media caption"The earth of Kashmir is sacred."

The dress

Emma Gingerich was brought up in an Amish community in Missouri in the US, part of the traditionalist Christian fellowship known for rejecting modern technology.

She ran away from the closed religious life eight years ago, taking with her only a small amount of money and the clothes on her back.

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Media caption"I dreamed about modern clothes."

The mother's saucepan

Debbie Epstein left South Africa with her family in 1962 when the government was targeting anti-apartheid activists.

She still has the saucepan her mother took with them, which she had used to cook food for activists on trial.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption"My mother purchased the pot to cook for people on trial for treason."

The mouthpiece

Peter Kaldor was 16 when the Soviets invaded Hungary in 1956.

His mother reluctantly agreed that, for his safety, Peter should flee.

As a promising musician there was one special object that he took with him.

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Media caption"Me leaving broke my mother's heart."

What one thing would you take with you if you had to leave your home and could never return? If you would be happy to speak to a BBC journalist please send us a contact number. You can email

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