Do you remember Alan Kurdi? We do. The photo of his tiny and lifeless three-year-old body lying face down on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea is forever etched in our memories, and the memories of millions of people around the world. His photo helped to bring global attention to the plight of more than 65 million people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes. Even though Alan Kurdi may have disappeared from news headlines, the refugee crisis has not.
There are more refugees and forcibly displaced people today than any other time in modern history. These children, women, men and families face unimaginable challenges and struggle to access even the most basic of rights, like a safe place to live, an education, jobs and freedom.
While it may seem that the situation is hopeless, inspiring stories of refugees like Yusra Mardini and Abdhu Grace William , heroes like the White Helmets, and the work of organizations like UNHCR, give us hope. You know what else gives us hope? The small actions of everyday moms, dads and families to stand with refugees, that we know will equal up to big change.
Today is World Refugee Day, a day to raise awareness of the realities refugees face and encourage global action. In honor of this important day, we’re sharing a few of the ways our Global Moms community is standing with refugees and how they are inspiring others to do the same. They bring us hope, and we think they will bring you hope too.
In my experience, fairness and compassion come easily to children.
In my experience, fairness and compassion come easily to children. I believe our greatest job as parents is to raise them in such a way that they never lose that ability to empathize with the neediest among us. Living in the nation’s capitol, we are fortunate to have many opportunities to teach our children about democracy in action and we were proud to stand #WithRefugees to march against the ban. I know the kids were inspired to see we were but a few of many speaking up in support of refugees and who understand that America is a country built on welcoming those who are suffering and persecuted elsewhere. – Colleen Levine, foodietots.com
We want to support the hopes and dreams of refugees and the displaced for a safer future.
We live within walking distance of our city’s international district, which has given our family a more intimate look at the lives of refugee families. This day-to-day interaction is what spawned our decision to give our time and effort to the local refugee community.
We began donating food, clothing, and personalized items to the International Institute in our area to assist in the care of refugees and the displaced, and this year is no exception. Additionally, we have signed up to volunteer at our city’s Festival of Nations weekend in August that is hosted right in our neighborhood, as well as the Refugee Sunday being hosted at our church.
We’ve also pledged our support via signatures to the #WithRefugees online petition. We want to support the hopes and dreams of refugees and the displaced for a safer future. -Makeba Giles, MELISASource.com
As a mom, I look at the children who are suffering and I just want to help bring them to safety.
I took a real interest in the cause of helping refugees right around the time that young Alan Kurdi’s image surfaced in the headlines, showing his small body washed up on shore after drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. It reminded me of the six million Jewish lives taken so senselessly from this world during the Holocaust. As a mom, I look at the children who are suffering and I just want to help bring them to safety. When the situation worsened last year, I joined forces with several of my community members of all faiths and backgrounds to form an actual organization called Neighbors for Refugees. Together we have resettled a refugee from Pakistan in our area, and plan to bring as many people as we can and help them garner a new beginning. We have all kinds of skills – from lawyers to accountants to doctors to marketers, and it’s amazing how quick and efficient we are as a team.
We have also held many community events to inspire others to work on the behalf of refugees. Just last weekend, 200 people gathered at my synagogue to hear from The New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor on reporting on Syrian refugees in Canada last year, and we provided information on many ways for them to get involved, from making a pledge of support to elected officials to starting a collection for refugees in and around camps in Syria. In observance of International Refugee Day, we are hosting a Syrian dinner as part of the “Night of a Thousand Dinners” to raise money for and awareness of the needs of refugees. We also hosted a great lunch on the Long Island Sound last week that raised money for our efforts. – Holly Rosen Fink, theculturemom.com
World Refugee Day hits particularly close to home, since my grandparents were forced to flee Poland during World War II.
We try to teach our daughter kindness and compassion for all people every day. At three years old, it’s hard for her to understand the concept of refugees, but World Refugee Day is an opportunity to keep teaching empathy and gently expand her awareness. World Refugee Day hits particularly close to home, since my grandparents were forced to flee Poland during World War II. To mark the day, we’ll make a donation to UNHCR to support refugees, and I’ll let her hit the donate button – her favorite part! -Danielle Marks, @daniellemarks10
Our refugees deserve open arms, not a blind eye.
Our refugees deserve open arms, not a blind eye. This World Refugee Day, I won’t ignore the plight that 65 million individuals – mothers, fathers, and children – still face today as they leave their homes to flee conflict and violence. Discover the full breadth of this global crisis by watching UNHCR’s New Global Trends Report – there’s no excuse for ignorance. -Justine Sullivan, @justine_sullivan
Take Action Challenge
Now that you’re inspired, are you ready to take action? Here are a few ways you can stand #WithRefugees:
- Learn: Take a few minutes to get the facts on refugees and displaced people with these resources from UNHCR.
- Sign the petition: Join more than 1.5 million people around the world who have pledged their support for refugees by signing UNHCR’s #WithRefugees petition.
- Donate: There are many amazing organizations working to help refugees around the world. Find your favorite and consider supporting them by making a donation. Here are a few to get you started: UNHCR, the White Helmets, UNICEF, World Vision and Save the Children.
- Start a conversation: Share how you plan to stand with refugees today. Tweet using the hashtags #RefugeeDay and #WithRefugees.