With the shocking news of children being separated from their families at the southern US border, now is the time to show support for refugees across the world.
Our Managing Director Donna Shepherd has a deep understanding of the issues present in this context. As World Vision International Chair, Donna has spent time in developing countries such as Jordan and Lebanon to visit World Vision projects supporting Syrian refugees.
“Even in the toughest contexts, World Vision is there, walking shoulder to shoulder with communities, sharing the load and equipping people to look after their families, literally saving children, women and communities from uncertain futures,” Donna says.
And with a recent report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) highlighting that forced displacement across the world had reached a record high of 68.5 million, the fact that World Vision are there helping is good news to say the least.
The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends study found that the number of people displaced (now larger than the entire population of Thailand) is also growing.
In 2017 alone, over 16.2 million people were displaced either for the first time or repeatedly.
These huge numbers come overwhelmingly from low-income countries (85%), with 57% of refugees worldwide coming from just three countries; South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria.
From an estimated pre-war population of 22 million, over 13.5 million Syrians have been identified as requiring humanitarian assistance today, both in Syria and external to their home country.
The Syria crisis has been raging for seven years. Forcibly displaced people are facing challenges entirely alien to most of us.
Many children are missing out on education, facing work as child labourers, and young girls are increasingly vulnerable to early marriage.
World Vision’s initial response to the crisis was supporting resettlement and basic needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In this eighth year of the crisis, World Vision operates in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, assisting by:
- helping people access food, clean water, sanitation and hygiene services
- shelter and emergency supplies such as blankets, stoves and warm winter clothing
- support to fractured health systems: hospitals, maternal services, health centres and mobile clinics
- safe spaces for children to learn, play and receive other forms of support
- programs addressing children’s social interactions, family bonds and psychosocial well-being
- bridging courses and additional classes to get children back to school
In Jordan and Lebanon, resettlement has become long-term, not only raising tension and competition over jobs and services available but also altering the traditional demographics and patterns of life in cities and towns.
Life cannot truly begin again for many Syrian refugees who live in a state of limbo. Many want to return to their home but cannot, many others have lost their homes, all are looking for a safe home for themselves and their families.
This past week has been Refugee Week in Australia, but just because the week is over does not mean we should stop thinking about how we can help those who have to wait to live a life of safety and security.
It is the responsibility of our Government and each one of us to ensure people who are forcibly displaced can live with dignity and hope.
Sign the #WithRefugees petition here and stand with the 1.9 million people who have already pledged their support.