At this moment, in some war torn country in Africa or the Middle-East, a child, brother, sister, mother or father is being forced to flee their home for safety. They run, as fast as they can, taking only what they can carry away from those who want to do them harm. They may never be able to return.
On June 20, we honor these people, their courage and quick-thinking in situations of extreme peril and terror. In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly decided the need for an international refugee day was imminent. To show solidarity with the plight of African refugees, they decided to have World Refugee Day coincide with African Refugee Day.
The day is extremely important, especially now. Along with several African nations, countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan are seeing their citizens run for solace, finding it in countries in Europe and North America.
Sometimes, they can’t even get out of their country, forced to make refugee camps, large open spaces equipped with just tents for shelter, their homes. The conditions are dirty and unsanitary. Debilitating diseases and illnesses spread quickly.
Recent wars in Pakistan and Sri Lanka have displaced millions of people. In Sri Lanka, many are still living in poorly kept refugee camps. In Pakistan, many will never be able to return, their homes destroyed by Taliban forces.
It is hard to comprehend, perhaps for many in North America, what it truly would feel like to have to flee your home to protect yourself or your family.
Imagine a war is taking place right outside your door. Opposition forces enter your home to use it as shelter against their enemy, killing you if you try to protect it, giving you just a short window to flee.
But war isn’t the only problem for refugees. Extreme poverty and governmental neglect can make surviving in your home country nearly impossible.
How can the children of Uganda, where it was recently discovered countless kids are being used and are at risk of becoming child soldiers or child laborers, leave? Today is not only a day to honor those who made it out, but also those who need to leave.
Events to honor the distressed are being held around the world. A dance event in Nairobi. A mini-marathon in northern Sri Lanka. A concert in Washington D.C. A symposium in Tokyo.
Take a minute today to research and learn more about the world’s refugees and the conflicts they face. Donate. Attend an event. Help our world’s refugees.