"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me. I assure you, as often as you did it for the least among you, you did it for me." — Matthew 25:35-40
According to the UNHCR, an unprecedented 65.3 million have been forced from their homes to escape war, persecution, terror, or disasters. That's one in every 113 persons.
For rough comparison, that’s more than the entire population of the state of California (40 million, according to the U.S. Census).
And of the 65.3 million displaced persons, 21.3 million are refugees. That’s more than the population of Texas (27.8 million). More than half of those are under the age of 18.
June 20 is World Refugee Day (June 20th), a day to recognize the plight of refugees around the world, and work toward long-term solutions for them.
Refugees are victims of violence but, more importantly, they are also the strongest voices for peaceful solutions and a loud call to put our faith into action.
This year’s World Refugee Day is focused on:
Ensuring every refugee child gets an education.
Ensuring every refugee family has somewhere safe to live.
Ensuring every refugee can work or learn new skills to make a positive contribution to their community.
Governments and international communities of humanitarian organizations, churches, concerned individuals and businesses are working hard to adapt to this new reality of mass displacement. The Middle East and Africa hosts 68 percent of the world’s displaced people (UNHCR).
Various Lutheran churches and organizations each play important roles in the life of refugees. LWR is working with local partners to:
In Mauritania, refugees from Mali and local farmers now know how to grow vegetables in the sands of the Sahara. In fact, the refugee camps now have a flourishing vegetable market where even locals come to shop. LWR is also working in Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda to respond to the East Africa Drought and Famine emergency. Together, Jordan and Lebanon hosts 1.69 million refugees (UNHCR). LWR is working with local partners in host countries, like Jordan and Lebanon, to offer workshops to refugees on starting their own businesses. And of course, your ongoing response making Quilts and Kits is inspirational and goes so far to provide crucial supplies and comfort.
In a world where our positions drives the violence that forces families to flee from their stricken communities, supporting refugees reaffirms the values of humanity and love that motivates us and is bestow upon all of us.