HAPPY WORLD REFUGEE DAY

It might seem clueless to wish someone a “happy world refugee day.” After all, a refugee is someone who’s been forced flee their country to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. The very definition of the word implies some form of tragedy.

But whether or not the tragedy a person faces is manmade or not, a refugee is someone who has survived. As both the Roman statesman Cicero and the Bible* are quoted as saying, “Where there is life, there is hope.” And nowhere is that hope more evident than with children.

On World Refugee Day, our hearts and minds turn to child refugees.

 Bantu Refugee Children. Photo credit:  Melvin "Buddy" Baker on Flickr . Creative Commons

Bantu Refugee Children. Photo credit: Melvin "Buddy" Baker on Flickr. Creative Commons

A child is not an emblem of anything, or a political talking point. A child is just a child, precious and amazing—full of promise and potential. Amazingly, children can find happiness despite great tragedy. Their resilience offers us grown-ups hope for a better future.

We here at SIL LEAD are grateful for the role we’ve been able to play in improving the lives of children around the world. Our work is one small part of a much larger movement that is meeting the needs of refugee children and families around the world, sometimes in dramatic ways.

For example, International Rescue Committee was awarded a $100 million grant by the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition, and in using this award are working with Sesame Street to reach more than nine million refugee children in the Middle East with education and hope.

These sorts of efforts are reshaping the world in which we live.

We believe that “it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,” and are grateful to be able to dedicate our time and abilities to lighting a candle on behalf of refugees and their children.

Alone, our efforts may not amount to much. But together, we can start a fire that will burn up the night.

On this World Refugee Day, we challenge you to take a moment to think about what you can do to touch the lives of refugees. As you open your eyes to the tragedies that so many people—often through no fault of their own—are forced to bear, remember to find some hope as well, and join us in making a difference.

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*Ecclesiastes 9:3-5