3 Ways to Participate in World Refugee Day

"On World Refugee Day, I call on the international community to intensify efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, and to help achieve peace and security so that families can be reunited and refugees can return home."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Over 43.7 million people around the world are refugees, and 80% of them are women and children. Refugees are among the most vulnerable people in the world. To help draw attention to the millions of refugees and displaced persons worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution, every year on June 20th the United Nations, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and civic groups around the world celebrate World Refugee Day.

One Body One Hope has a particular concern for displaced people. We believe in whole-body ministry, and Christ himself urges us to care for the orphan and the widow in their distress. And since we believe in active caring, we are urging you today to take a minute to do the following:

1) Put yourself in their shoes. Take 10 minutes, two small bags, and plan what you would take for yourself and your family if you had to leave your home. Make the decisions in those ten minutes, and plan for a long journey. Where would you go? What would you leave behind? Involving your children in this is a great way to help them realize just a bit of what refugees experience. Post in the comments what your family decided to take!

2) Develop a plan to shelter a refugee family. Pretend a family has shown up on your doorstep. Discuss with your family what kind of needs they would have, considering physical, spiritual, medical, psychological, and educational needs. Could you house them? What could you share and how could you help support them? Who could you contact for them? What would you do if they had family members left behind who couldn't make the trip?

2) Give. Make a tangible difference for people in serious need. Click here to donate to the UNHCR. You can also make it a family project by having your family members help decide the amount, and if you're looking for ways to make your gift budget-conscious, decide as a family what you're going to cut out this month. Perhaps you decide to give up a weekend activity, reduce chips and soda for the month, or eat in as a family instead of eating out. Perhaps you raise the money by selling extras or making items you can sell to fundraise.

Done as a conscious choice to give up our comforts to help others who lack basic shelter, food, water, and medical care, this can help our families be aware of how much they have already, and be proud of being part of a change that matters.

Please share this with your friends and family so they can participate in our World Refugee Challenge. Change starts with knowledge!

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
— Matthew 25:35-36, NIV