Yesterday (20 June) World Refugee Day 2018 came (& went), but the issues facing refugees are not something to contemplate just one day of the year.
Imagine if conflict evicted your family (& you) from your home.
Where no place is safe, your country is engulfed in violent turmoil, and you fear for your children and loved ones every minute of every day, what can you do?
Escaping, even with nothing but the clothes on your back, is preferable to certain death that looms ever present. The decision to leave is not hard to make when you’ve also seen your home and everything you possess blown to bits by bombs and violence.
Forced to flee, you eventually make it to a refugee camp, finally accepting the fact that you’ll never return to all you’ve held familiar, because what was is no more. You eke out an existence in the crowded camp waiting (years and years) for an opportunity to make a new home in a new place.
A place where you can find a job, study, make a living, provide for your loved ones.
A place where you don’t have to be afraid every minute of every day.
A place where you can learn to live again, to hope again.
Imagine if you live in one of the world’s wealthy countries, where peace and resources are plentiful: food, water, shelter, education, opportunities and freedom.
Is there room in your heart to welcome refugees who have suffered so much?
Refugees seek refuge, a safe place to be. Can you open a refuge in your heart to seek (& be) a safe place for refugees?
Can you be a refuge of hope for refugees to begin again, to learn to hope again?
Or, maybe you think it’s not your problem.
Hey you, someday that refugee could be me, or you.
Today there are more than 68 million refugees and internally displaced persons. If you would like to help, or learn more, here are two organizations (among many) with a long history helping refugees: International Rescue Committee and Catholic Relief Services.