“Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again. On World Refugee Day, let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to refugees everywhere.” —Ban Ki-moon
What would you do if your home country had become a life threat to you and your family?
Everyday thousands of individuals—infants, elders in wheelchairs, women and men are risking their lives as they flee their home countries. They tend to leave everything behind to embark on journeys in hopes of finding safety. With an increasing number of conflicts and crises causing displacement, a staggering 25.4 million people are refugees (The UN Refugee Agency). To put it in perspective for the current situation, there are more individuals who are displaced than at any other time since World War 2, and the numbers will only continue to rise.
To honor a refugee’s struggle and courage, every year World Refugee Day (June 20) is celebrated to support millions of families all over the world who have lost their homes due to violence of war.
Thousands line up in the middle of the night crossing treacherous deserts into neighboring countries. Often, unable to find safe ways to move, people suffer and die in search of safety while crossing the Sahara desert and dozens of other dangerous places. If travelling by sea, rickety boats pile high with people seeking safety over turbulent water conditions. Women, men and children often drown in their attempt to escape violence and poverty only to be welcomed in by fences going up at borders.
There is a stark difference in reality of the refugee policies on the number of countries that are allowing them into their home countries. Almost 90% of refugees are hosted in developing countries, in which eight countries are hosting half of the refugee population. With the increasing number of refugees, local regions are struggling to provide basic resources (including schools and places to welcome them) to meet the increasing demand.
As the global conversation progresses, we need to start thinking about restructuring our framework and global policies to address and welcome larger groups of refugees. Contrary to perceptions, “Investing one euro in welcoming refugees can yield nearly two euros in economic benefits within five years.” Refugees are an invaluable resource to a host country and can spur the growth through the creation of local businesses.
As we start having conversations around this crisis, we have seen the shift in the mindset through these global conversations. There has been an outpouring of support from individuals all over the world, an increase in humanitarian and resettlement offers, more players entering this space along with a growth in funding provided to refugees—but there is still so more we can do.
- Do your research: Educate yourself about the global crisis, find out what issues are prevalent to host countries and find organizations that are helping from the ground up.
- Volunteer your time and skills
- Reach out to your heads of government in pushing them to accept more refugees
- Take action: There are plenty of organizations that are taking the lead in advocating for refugees and they need your support by signing petitions or making donations.
- Spread awareness
Through collective action we can take greater strides in providing dignity for all those who take the journey for a safer life.
Learn more about World Refugee Day
FROM THE EDITOR
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