Each year on June 20, World Refugee Day celebrates the strength, courage, and determination of millions of refugees. It is a moment to offer support to the millions forced to leave all they know behind in search of safety.
Today, we tell the story of refugees and how, with your support, World Renew has been able to demonstrate the love of Christ to thousands.
Here are six things you should know about the global refugee crisis, and how World Renew is responding:
- A staggering 65.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes. This is the highest number since the end of World War 2, and has increased threefold since 2000.
- This includes over 21 million refugees, more than 50% of whom are under the age of 18
- Developing countries are hosting 88% of all refugees
- World Renew has built latrines for over 40,000 South Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda, ensuring that families are safe from cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and other waterborne illnesses.
- World Renew has provided assistance to nearly 140,000 Syrians forcibly displaced by the conflict since 2012
- World Renew’s Refugee Resettlement Program has helped 410 refugees find a safe new home in Canada since the beginning of 2016
Churches across Canada have welcomed refugees from countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Somalia and Myanmar into their communities through World Renew’s sponsorship program, tangibly demonstrated God’s love. And dozens more churches are currently working hard to help refugees find a new home.
We are thankful for the dedication, generosity and ongoing hard work of churches in this sponsorship progress, but we recognize less than 2% of all refugees will be resettled into countries like Canada or the United States. Refugees are in need of assistance right now, where they are.
Anyama, South Sudanese Refugee in Uganda
In South Sudan, conflict is displacing millions. Anyama, a mother of four, was forced to flee to northern Uganda with her children when conflict made it impossible to stay in her community. She has taken refuge in Bidibidi, a resettlement area that is home to nearly 300,000 refugees. On her journey to Bidibidi, Anyama met three children who had lost their parents. These orphans were stranded at the Ugandan border with nobody to protect them. Even in the enormously difficult situation Anyama was already in, she was moved by compassion to welcome these three children into her family.
After arriving in Bidibidi, World Renew’s local partner, Here is Life, reached out to Anyama and constructed a latrine her family could use. With this latrine, Anyama’s family will be less at risk from diseases like cholera and typhoid. “For this I am most grateful,” shared Anyama. Through your prayers and support for World Renew, this family is experiencing the life-giving love of Christ in a tangible way.
Joseph* is a pastor of a local Lebanese church. Before the civil war started in Syria, Joseph hated Syrian people. His hatred was rooted in a longstanding history of animosity between these two nations, caused by the Syrian occupation of Lebanon from 1976 to 2005. After 30 years of occupation, many Lebanese people were left to resent, distrust and even hate Syrian people.
Yet, God had something else in mind for Joseph. He transformed Joseph’s heart, giving him a deep compassion for Syrian refugees and a clear call to reach out to those in need. Joseph is committed wholeheartedly to this cause of reaching out to Syrian refugees he now considers his “sisters and brothers.” Joseph is one of many Christians throughout the Middle East who are demonstrating the love of Christ to Syrians who have lost almost everything. Without passionate followers of Christ, like Joseph, the work of World Renew would not be possible.
On World Refugee Day, the stories of Anyama and Joseph are reminders that God is working in the midst of the global refugee crisis. And Christians are responding through prayer, financial gifts, and refugee sponsorship. Thank you for your continued partnership in this ministry!
All donations made before June 30 to World Renew’s response to the South Sudan Refugee Crisis will be matched by the Canadian Government.
Please give generously!
*name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual
PHOTO TOP: South Sudanese refugee children in Uganda PHOTO CREDIT: Tear Australia