You might have noticed that every year in June we talk about World Refugee Day. Why? Because we believe that helping refugees around the world and welcoming them into this country is the right thing to do. It lies at the heart of who we are as a nation, and who Prosperity Candle is as an organization.
World Refugee Day is celebrated annually on June 20th and is an opportunity to focus global attention on the plight as well as triumphs of refugees seeking safety. Currently the record of worldwide refugees has reached its all-time high with over 26 million displaced people, according to The UN Refugee Agency.
Who is a refugee? Someone who has fled their country due to violence and is unable to return based on fear of being persecuted based on race, religion, nationality or membership to a particular political or social group.
Everyone deserves a peaceful place to call home with food, clean water and access to medical care. Sadly, millions struggle to survive every day. But we can all make a difference, and every action taken - no matter how small - helps.
If you are searching for opportunities to contribute to this year’s World Refugee Day, here are six ways you can make an impact on June 20th.
1. Donate To Organizations On The Frontline
The International Rescue Committee works with more than 40 countries, including Ukraine and Afghanistan, to help restore safety, health, education and economic wellbeing to people in conflict-torn areas. The International Medical Corps is another great organization to donate to, providing emergency response, health services, food security, mental health support and access to sanitation and clean water. Prosperity Candle has supported refugees around the world for over a decade and has worked with both of these frontline organizations.
2. Volunteer Your Time
The smallest action can have the most powerful impact. A great way to help refugees integrate into an ever-changing world is to offer as many resources to ease the difficult transition. Giving some of your time can make a big difference. English lessons, technology skills, tutoring opportunities, hosting a family– these are all ways to help refugees prosper. Check in with schools and colleges in your area to see if any offer classes or scholarships to refugees seeking educational opportunities. Help refugees have access to all the tools they need to rebuild their lives and achieve their dreams.
3. Strengthen Community Support
Become an ally for refugees within your community. Join others setting up a local pantry or mutual aid fund, and help organize food and clothing drives to strengthen community support. You can contact local organizations working with refugees to organize fundraisers or rallies that benefit the refugee community. Events that celebrate and amplify the voices of refugees raises awareness and gives individuals an incentive to take action. You can also look into immigration laws within your own town or state to see if there are items to be addressed that are within your power to change. Strengthening community support for refugees will help them prosper and become contributing members of society.
4. Support Businesses With Ethical Refugee-Made Products
Looking into businesses owned or operated by refugees is an additional way to help the refugee community thrive. Choosing to purchase refugee-made goods from a business helps ensure employment opportunities and job security. Prosperity Candle is just one example among many that have the core mission to help refugees prosper. Our handmade candles are created by women artisan building a brighter future, including our Stand With Ukraine candle which donates 100% of proceeds to the International Medical Corps. Check out our list of 10 Incredible Refugee-Made Products that Give Back to Artisans and the Community.
5. Read Refugee And Immigrant Stories
An easy way to gain insight into a refugee's plight is to immerse yourself in refugee and immigration stories. Storytelling is a powerful tool. There are countless stories at our fingertips detailing the hardships and struggles refugees face. Novels such as The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, and We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai are a good start. Celebrating and sharing refugee stories raises awareness to the growing humanitarian crisis, builds empathy while reshaping the narrative, and encourages people to take individual action. When we take the time to hear refugees' experiences, we are strengthening our connection and understanding. You can also meet our artisans and read their courageous stories.
6. Learn About The Immigration Process
There are many misconceptions about the difficult immigration process. Educating yourself and becoming familiar with the terms and definitions really helps navigate the truth. Refugees are an integral part of our society, which is why it’s important to shift the opposing perspective.
Welcoming refugees benefits us all collectively. By providing refugees with secure employment, accessible health care and educational opportunities, refugees can begin establishing a stable and safe life. World Refugee Day commemorates the strength and bravery of refugees, and the sacrifices they made to build a better future for themselves. On June 20th, let’s recognize refugees for their perseverance and contributions to our world.
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