Saturday, June 20, 2009

World Refugee Day-June 20th

Today is a very special day! A day that is devoted to some of the strongest and most resilient individuals in the world: refugees. The legal UNHCR definition of a refugee is(summarized) "individuals who must flee their country due to a well founded fear of persecution." What this definition doesn't define is who these individuals are. To me, they are both clients and friends; black, white, brown and tan; very, very old and very, very young; they are doctors, farmers, translators, teachers and housewives. They are also individuals who have endured more than you and I may ever be forced to endure (Inshallah). They have come from Burundi, Burma, Iraq, Ethiopia, Liberia, Iran and many, many other countries. If they don't verbally share their story with you, you can often still see the story on their faces. Although excited to come to America to begin a new life, the war, death, hunger and loss that they have experienced prior to arriving is often visible.

But so is the hope.

Families arrive with dreams of receiving the education that they never have before had the opportunity to gain, jobs that allow them to feel whole again, but most of all freedom to pursue what is important to them (religion, ethnic identification and political affiliation).

If you live in a city that resettles refugees, consider how you might be able to make an impact. Just imagine what you life would be like if you had to quickly leave your country for a new land simply because of who you are. That's not a world that I like to imagine myself living in, but it is reality for 35 million people.

This shows a tiny piece of our work...


one + one said...

I love that WR video!!

los cazadores said...

Your work is invaluable.


Jane said...

I'm so happy I was able to spend some time with you on World Relief Day! John and I both loved learning more about the work that you do. So interesting and inspirational! I also really, really loved the video. I watched it twice. And heck, I'll probably watch it again. :) Thanks for sharing! I miss you!