Yesterday, June 20th, was World Refugee Day. It’s a day to honor the women, men and children that are forced from the comforts of their homes into unknown foreign lands by various forms of violence.
I have had the opportunity to work with refugees and what I know for sure is that it takes a special kind of courage to walk in their shoes. From being forced to make life-altering decisions as they flee, to finding a sense of stability while in refugee camps, and eventually starting life anew after being resettled – it’s not easy.
I wish people were more accommodating towards refugees. I have heard people say mean things about them and then shrug off their comments upon being questioned. There are those who view them as a liability and claim that they drain the resources of their receiving countries. I don’t understand this mentality. Refugees have already been through so much and the best some people can do is be hostile towards them? To such people – compassion, acceptance and kindness do not hurt – they do not diminish who you are, in fact they are an asset to your being.
The UNHCR did a series titled Refugee Stories. Here is one from Hawa, an Ethiopian refugee in Kenya.
So today, although I am late, I salute refugees worldwide! Here’s to you!