World Refugee Day is a great opportunity to remind us of the millions of people fleeing war, human rights violations poverty and climate disasters. It reminds us that no-one ever chose to be a refugee. Today over a 108 million people have been forced to flee their homes. Many have risked everything – even their lives – in search of safety and a better life, frequently.
This year’s theme is Compassion: A vital emotion - that allows human beings to stand in solidarity with one another regardless of color, race, gender, religion or nationality. ‘Compassion’ means to feel for others.
Stories From Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burkina Faso and Refugees/IDPs From Roma, Ukraine
Helping other women refugees stay safe.
Row and other women in Nguenyyiel are also helping women become more confident and independent, so they do not have to rely on men if they find themselves in an abusive relationship. “Our husbands are our main resource,” Row says. “We have no other resources apart from their contribution, but when you disagree with someone who supports you, you have nowhere to go,” she says. Row encourages women to find business training, so they can earn money and have some level of financial independence. Beyond cutting firewood, Row says “Some employ themselves as cooks, they make tea, they cook foods in the local market.” This encourages women to earn their income so they can be able to take care of their children.
From discrimination to compassion
Since Valentina’s home in the Luhansk region was destroyed last year, she and her family have been moving constantly. “Not even a thread was left,” she says, as she describes the total destruction of the place she had lived in all her life. Travelling with her son, daughter-in-law and eight children it’s been challenging to find somewhere big enough to accommodate them. Over winter the family were given permission to live in an empty house on the edge of a village in the Berezivka region. Valentina says the local community here has been kind to them, donating food to the family and clothes for the children, but she hopes one day to return to the place she grew up.
Hekima’s story of resilience and compassion.
Separated from their loved ones and homes by the conflict in Sudan, hundreds of thousands of people have become refugees seeking solace in foreign lands. Each person has a unique story yet is bound with hope for compassion, peace and stability. In Walgaa in South Sudan’s Akobbo state, hundreds of refugees and returnees who have fled the war in Sudan are arriving with nothing to fend for themselves. In one of the camps, we meet a group of mothers sitting together, young and old, with their children while waiting for food rations from INGOs.
Together we can stand in solidarity with refugees by showing compassion in action. Here are 3 ways you can show compassion and take action to support refugees:
1- Amplify refugees voices:
Oxfam and its partners help everyday a million people fleeing their homes due to war, climate disaster or human rights violations. We provide lifesaving food, water and sanitation for refugees and internally displaced people across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Together with our partners – like the Global Refugee Network – we also rally to ensure refugees live in safety and with dignity and are treated equally. You can show compassion by amplifying the voices of refugees and joining our collective efforts to protect the rights and freedoms of refugees.
2- Rally to protect the rights of refugees:
You can protest unjust laws and policies that restrict refugee rights and freedoms which many governments sadly have in place. Challenge dangerous anti-migration rhetoric, policies and decisions by your government that have added more suffering to refugees and asylum seekers. You can contact your member of parliament or government to ask for just policies and more resources that help refugees rebuild their lives, enjoy their rights to education, healthcare and employment, while also realising their full potential and contributing to their host-nation.
Help Oxfam and partners support more refugees by donating to our programs that help displaced people.