Today marks the first day after Refugee Week 2020 and I purposefully waited till the end of the week to write this blog. KnownValuedLoved love sharing stories of hope and we love focussing on the positives, the lives changed and the impact made. The truth is, it's not always that easy. 79 million people had been forcibly displaced from their homes by the end of 2019 – of those, 26 million were classed as refugees, living in different countries, trying to find work, health care, safety – a better future for themselves and for their children. Heartbreakingly 40% of the worlds displaced people are children.
The problem is many of them won’t find what they are looking for – 5.6 million will be returned to where they came from, or sent back to their last destination. 80% are being hosted in developing countries that were struggling to meet the basic needs of their own nationals. Last year over 4000 men, women and children lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean sea.
Refugee week may be over, people may have been inspired and compelled to action, but new stories are being written every day! One person becomes displaced every 3 seconds! 20 people have been forced from their homes since you started reading this blog! Today there are more refugees and internally displaced people since the end of World War II. People are still being driven from their homes due to conflict, persecution, environmental calamity, economic issues – all being deprived of their material possessions and contact with their loved ones.
Listening to stories is where it started for me. Working with children 17 years ago that were unaccompanied, turning up at school wanting to start learning – I can recall what they told me word for word, such was the horror of what I heard, and what they had experienced. This week has reminded me of those conversations and reminded me of how I felt at the time – in many ways it was that feeling that defined my mentality and motivation for the job I did.
This week I have loved listening to people share their experiences. I have been encouraged by what charities, organisations and individuals are doing to help. I’ve enjoyed podcasts, interviews on social media, hearing first-hand accounts of the journeys that people have been on, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to people who have seen their journey through and are now advocating for others. These people are our inspiration.
Over the next few months we will be releasing more information about our projects, where we will be working and what we will be doing to help refugees and people whose lives have been impacted by conflict. We need your help. Share our message, talk about us to your friends and family – go on our website and sign up to receive up-dates and get in touch if you think you can help.
In the words of Steve Jobs ‘The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones that do!