World Refugee Day 2021

Addressing the challenge to support refugees

By Christina Tobias-Nahi

According to the UN High Commission for Refugees 2022 Global Resettlement Needs Report released this month in recognition of World Refugee Day, for the sixth year in a row, Syrian refugees are among those with the highest resettlement needs, followed by refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Eritrea. 

As a result too of the pandemic, “many of those displaced are now faced with increased poverty, destitution and widespread protection risks, from exploitation, trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence, child labor, early marriage, to arrest, detention, deportation, and refoulement.” 

Islamic Relief USA has long worked tirelessly to bring aid to refugees everywhere, to raise awareness and do advocacy on their plight, and to make their voices heard. This year for the first time we were happy to team up with #GivingTuesday on their new global campaign launched on World Refugee Day, June 20th.

“During a time of crisis and division, too many people feel isolated and helpless, yearning for a way to build the world they wish to see,” said Asha Curran, CEO of GivingTuesday. “Our distributed leadership network works throughout the year to rally their countries and communities to be more generous. #GivingEveryTuesday allows us to shine a light on that entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit while inviting even more people from all backgrounds and beliefs to join in. We can use the power of generosity to fuel more connection, understanding, and collective action each week, all year long.”

On the education front, our social engagement team held a livestream with staff to talk about our international projects and how we are building resilience in the communities we work in. Watch the livestream here.

Similarly, our Public Affairs Director participated in and helped convene a panel hosted by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University and the G20 Interfaith Forum on “The Response of Faith Communities to Venezuelan Displacement in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

After Syrians, Venezuelans are the second largest displaced community. And sadly, unlike other refugee crises, the Venezuelan one is not the result of conventional war or conflict. Still, the conditions Venezuelans face daily are not much different than those in an active war zone. 

Most recently, Islamic Relief USA is responding to the unfolding crisis in Tigray, Ethiopia. Always a new tragedy somewhere but we are there to respond.

Islamic Relief will continue to provide aid in a dignified manner to refugee communities both abroad and here in the US, and moreover through our involvement with the GivingTuesday campaign, we aim to work with partners to create a groundswell of support and awareness amplifying the stories of refugees around the world to celebrate the values that connect us, no matter our home country or location.

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