The History of Refugees – How can you help?

Refugees: how many times have we heard this word? Probably a lot. Despite hearing it so many times though, a majority of us can’t define it perfectly and properly. Some just aren’t interested, while others don’t have the time to research it. With more than 1% of the world’s population displaced (79.5 million), we need to learn more about the refugees and how to support or help them. The surprising thing is that since the first world war, the amount of refugees keeps increasing. While they should be given extra and special attention to, they aren’t a priority for many nations.

At the moment, there are major countries that refugees emerge from, as well as major countries that accept the refugees. However, before diving into the facts and statistics of these countries, let’s talk about why there are refugees in the first place. This is simple, actually, because people only become refugees when there’s extreme levels of violence and terror – so much so, that the only way out for millions of people is to leave their very own nation. Civil wars, world wars – they end up destroying the lives and homes of millions. There are quite a lot of countries that have gone through such situations, such as Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, Myanmar and South Sudan (⅔ of the overall refugees are from these countries). Furthermore, the countries that accept the most refugees include: Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan, Columbia, Lebanon, and others.

Since the development of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the situation is a bit more disorganized though. Indeed, their facts and statistics, along with their challenges for youth and the easy, direct ways to make donations assists the refugees in more ways that one could imagine. As an example, the Syrian refugee crisis, that started in around 2011, has been given a large amount of support by the UNHCR. Countries independently continue to help the refugees in their own ways too: some by accepting them into their countries, others by providing them with countless support. 

The most important thing is our contribution, as individuals. Only when we unite and restore our humanity can we collectively help those that suffer from calamities. It’s extremely easy to donate online nowadays, and it’s all authorised too! Moreover, initiatives such as The Children’s Society and Paper Airplanes (where you can be a volunteer) and the UNHCR’s youth art competition are great opportunities that can help you play your part in this world.

 

Maliha Mujahid

The Next Generation School

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