World Refugee Day is June 20th.
There are 22. 5 million refugees in the world and half of them are under the age of 18. The refugee crisis is not just about NOW, it’s about the future with so many children displaced by war and famine.
Saving Our Children
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know people in my community who came to Canada as refugees. They fled the war in Syria. One thing that I’ll never forget is how my friend described leaving the country. She was talking about how it was such a rush and officials messed up her birth date on the documents. She said “When I left to save my son…” and “When [another friend] left to save her children…”.
I don’t know if I would give up my country, my family, my language, my food, my climate- everything I know- unless it was to save my children. And I can hardly imagine what it would be like to have to do that.
That’s why I got involved with refugee resettlement in my community. I helped found a group called Refugee Rescue South Simcoe and we have sponsored one family who are making a new, safe life in Alliston. We have helped other refugees in our community as well.
One solution to the refugee crisis is to find new homes in another country. Canada is hoping to welcome 40 000 refugees and protected persons this year (1). Refugees who have Canadians helping them, sponsors, do much better than those who do not. (2) By getting involved in a hands- on way, you can help make sure their new life is a success.
This World Refugee Day, Refugee Rescue SS is inviting more people to join us. We have the funds to sponsor a new family and the group we are working with, MCC Ontario, are quickly matching sponsor groups with families. We cannot be matched until we know we have the people-power to help. If you live in the Beeton/Tottenham/Alliston area, we would love your help. Join us on Tuesday.
Donate to Agencies Working with Refugees
In honour of World Refugee Day, you can donate to groups working with refugees here and abroad.
The group I’ve come to know is the Mennonite Central Committee. They are are Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the Government of Canada and they match refugees with sponsor groups and help sponsor groups with Named Case sponsorships. They rely on donations to do what they do. By the way, they also work to prevent violence and promote peace.
“We strive to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to eventually return home, integrate or resettle.
During times of displacement, we provide critical emergency assistance in the form of clean water, sanitation and healthcare, as well as shelter, blankets, household goods and sometimes food. We also arrange transport and assistance packages for people who return home, and income-generating projects for those who resettle.
Our help transforms broken lives.”
They work with refugees in Canada but you can also donate to their work in Syria:
“The Syria Crisis Fund:
Donations to the Syria Crisis Fund will help the Canadian Red Cross support urgent and ongoing medical needs inside Syria, where we have a permanent presence and are supporting the response to this protracted crisis. Donations will also support Red Cross partners in the region providing relief to displaced Syrians.”
“Save the Children works in over 120 countries around the world to deliver programs and advocate for better practices and policies to fulfill children’s rights. In addition to Save the Children’s work both internationally and domestically, Save the Children runs specific programs that take place in multiple countries. Together with our partners and supporters, we strive to ensure that children’s voices are heard, particularly children who are marginalized, living in poverty or struggling to survive in the aftermath of violence or disasters.
To achieve these goals, we collaborate with children, organizations, communities, governments and the private sector to share knowledge, influence change, and ensure that children’s rights are fulfilled.”
I have partnered with World Vision as a child sponsor since I was 17. My husband and I now sponsor 2 little boys. World Vision does more than just child sponsorship: they are often one of the first groups to arrive in disaster zones. They also have a program called Raw Hope:
“Raw Hope works in unstable countries whose governments cannot or will not act to protect the rights of its people. These countries are severely weakened by chronic economic and political problems.Children living in these countries struggle with disturbing conditions. For these children and families,it is a daily experience to face the threat of rape, violence, abuse, exploitation, hunger and suffering.Your Raw Hope monthly partnership ensures we are able to help in these challenging countries to bring immediate relief and also work toward long-term solutions.”
I have such a deep respect for the people who work in conflict zones in the name of humanity.
“Since 1971, MSF has cared for millions of people caught up in crises. We go where the need is greatest, be it a natural disaster, a war, an exodus of refugees or to help people excluded from healthcare.
With your help, we run hospitals and clinics, perform surgeries, battle epidemics, carry out vaccination campaigns, operate feeding centres and offer mental healthcare.”
There are many more organizations to whom you could donate. If you are wondering about a charity and want to know if they will handle your money well, you can look them up on a charity ranker like Charity Intelligence.