The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that as of 2016, there were 65.6 million forcibly displaced people worldwide—the highest levels ever recorded. This means that, incredibly, 1 in every 113 people globally is either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee.
June 20th is World Refugee Day, a time to particularly raise awareness about the nearly 22.5 million people who are refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. The UNHCR estimates that nearly 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution.
As the UNHCR notes, these numbers represent "immense human suffering.” But World Refugee Day is also a time to take note of the awe-inspiring courage, resourcefulness and perseverance not only of our fellow humans who are unfortunate enough to be caught in lives of displacement and deprivation, but also of the inspiring humanitarian work being relentlessly delivered by organizations dedicated to saving lives, improving conditions, and providing hope and even sustainable futures for those who so desperately and literally need and deserve “refuge.”
Here is a quick look at refugee-assistance programs being carried out by some of the nonprofit organizations on The Life You Can Save’s “recommended” list:
GIVEDIRECTLY'S CASH FOR REFUGEES PROGRAM
Uganda is a country being especially hard-hit by millions of refugees escaping horrors in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite very limited resources, more than 1.4 million refugees are being granted basic rights (like education, land, and the right to leave settlements or become a citizen). As described in The Invisible Refugee Crisis in our June newsletter, GiveDirectly is responding to this crisis with Cash for Refugees, a program to enable large cash transfers to refugees, primarily those from DRC, who are in protracted exile, having fled their homes 5 years ago or more. GiveDirectly is also supporting local communities hosting these refugees, the majority of whom are themselves living in extreme poverty.
(If you would like your donation to specifically support GiveDirectly’s Cash for Refugees program, please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know to flag your gift accordingly).
PHC/SANKU’S REFUGEE & AT-RISK COMMUNITIES (RAC) PROGRAM
Within the general at-risk population that Sanku-PHC serve with essential micronutrient fortification, they recognized that many people are not being reached due to a lack of more targeted programming. Today, there are an unprecedented 18 million refugees in Sub-Saharan Africa, who have escaped from war and terror, only to end up in overcrowded refugee camps, plagued by malnutrition, causing 100,000 refugee child deaths annually. Currently, the Sanku-PHC device is the only viable technology and mode of delivery available to fortify food in these refugee camps (as described in PHC/Sanku’s Response to the Refugee Crisis in the TLYCS newsletter last year).
Since 2015, Sanku has partnered with the World Food Program (WFP) to successfully provide fortified meals to over 80,000 children from the Kakuma refugee camp, located in the arid northwest corner of Kenya. Building on this successful program, in 2017 Sanku expanded their Refugee Initiative to Rwanda’s largest refugee camp, Mahama, home to over 60,000 Burundians who have fled violence due to political instability in their country. This population suffers from the worst malnutrition out of all Rwandan camps, having now reached the World Health Organization’s (WHO) critical threshold of child stunting and anemia rates (40%).
Sanku-PHC is projected to reach four million refugees throughout Africa by 2022.
(If you would like your donation to specifically support PHC’s refugee work, please send us a note at email@example.com letting us know to flag your gift accordingly).
FISTULA FOUNDATION'S PARTNERSHIP TO HELP ROHINGYA REFUGEES
The Rohingya refugee crisis is described by the UNHCR as “the fastest growing crisis in the world.” This group, which is a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar, has been subjected to violent persecution, resulting in an estimated 671,000 refugees fleeing to Bangladesh between August 2017 and April 2018. The vast majority of Rohingya refugees are women and children, including newborn babies.
As described in HOPE Amidst a Refugee Crisis in our June newsletter, HOPE Hospital, Fistula Foundation’s partner in Bangladesh, has been on the front lines of the Rohingya refugee crisis. The emergency care they provide includes identifying fistula patients and referring them back to the main hospital for surgery by a certified fistula surgeon.
(If you would like your donation to specifically support Fistula Foundation / HOPE’s Rohingya refugee work, please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know to flag your gift accordingly).
OXFAM'S WORK SUPPORTING SYRIAN REFUGEES AND HOST COMMUNITIES
The human suffering caused by seven years of civil war in Syria is overwhelming. With no end in sight to the conflict, hundreds of thousands of people are living in desperate conditions and exposed to continuing violence. Today, half the pre-conflict population of 22 million Syrians have fled their homes and more than 13 million people urgently need your help.
Oxfam is helping more than 2 millions people affected by the crisis, across Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan and in Greece, Italy, Serbia and Macedonia. Their interventions in refugee camps, informal settlements along escape routes, and in host communities include clean water, sanitation, vital food aid, blankets, cash, as well as helping refugees make a living and protecting them from violence and abuse. They are helping families receive information about their legal and human rights, access improved work opportunities, and connecting them to medical, legal and support services.
(If you would like your donation to specifically support Oxfam’s Syrian refugee work, please send us a note at email@example.com letting us know to flag your gift accordingly).