What would compel you to leave your home? What would it take for you to run, leaving your belongings, your friends, your neighbours, your job, your country, maybe even your language… everything you’ve known so far?
World Refugee Day
World Refugee Day falls on 20 June each year. It’s a day dedicated to honouring the people who have had to do just that – people who have fled their places of comfort when they, sometimes in a matter of minutes, have lost every trace of what was once comforting.
The UN defines a refugee as someone who, ‘owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is… unwilling to return to it.’
27.1 million refugees, 82 million stories
At the end of 2021, there were 27.1 million refugees around the world. Half of them were under the age of 18.
In many countries, Tearfund works – often through the local church – to help improve the lives of people who are refugees or who are displaced within their own countries. Conflict, economic hardship and natural disasters (often caused by climate change) have forced more than 82 million people around the world from their homes. The massive numbers can seem overwhelming, but each of those statistics is a unique person, with a name and a story. Each person represented by the numbers is loved by God. Each person deserves the opportunity to thrive.
These two refugee stories come from people who fled conflict in Syria and have found support through Tearfund partners working in Lebanon.
Imane and her husband sought shelter in Lebanon, where they now live with their four young children.
‘We are from the countryside in Syria,’ Imane* explains. We’ve been out of Syria for seven years, ever since the violent conflict came to our area.