The last time the world experienced a refugee crisis the size of the one happening today, it was the middle of World War II. Most of us weren’t even born yet, and those of us who were alive were probably kids. So, it’s understandable if you have questions about the refugee crisis and wonder whether you can truly make a difference.
Here are seven points to help you understand what refugees are going through and why you should care:
1. What’s the difference between a refugee, an internally displaced person, and a migrant?
You’ve probably heard these terms used interchangeably on the news and in conversations with others. But they actually mean different things.
The U.N. defines a refugee as someone who has been forced to flee his country because of persecution, war, or violence. An internally displaced person (IDP) is someone who has fled his home but is still living in the same country, often in a refugee camp. A migrant is anyone who changes his home country for any reason.
2. How big is the refugee crisis?
Right now, more than 68.5 million people have been forced from their homes by conflict or persecution. That’s more than the populations of Australia and Canada combined! A little more than one in three of those people have had to leave their country entirely while the rest are displaced in other parts of their nation.
Over half of all refugees are children, and many are living in refugee camps without their parents. We are witnessing a massive shift of humanity unlike anything seen before.
3. Why are so many refugees children?
Terrorism and regional warfare are two main reasons why people flee their homes. And when militants attack a village, their first targets are usually the people they view as the biggest threat — the men. For this reason, many refugee children have lost at least one parent to violence.
Other kids were separated from their parents when they ran for their lives. They have no idea whether their mom and dad are still alive. Now, they must make difficult decisions like when and how to return home or travel to safety on their own. For a child, this can be terrifying.
4. Why is the refugee crisis still going on?
While much of the fighting in places like Iraq is less intense than it was a year or two ago, the refugee crisis is certainly not over. Families have nothing to return to. Their homes, schools, businesses, and entire communities have been reduced to rubble.
And in Syria, South Sudan, and other places around the world, refugees are still facing active violence. They continue to flee in droves to refugee camps that are not equipped to care for them. These refugees are anxious, uncertain, and in desperate need of help.
5. Why can’t refugees’ countries help them? Why do they need our help?
When refugees are fleeing, their countries are usually struggling, too. Often, their nation is using all of its financial resources to try to solve the crisis that is causing the disruption.
The biggest problem is that violence, famine, and other causes of the refugee crisis don’t just destroy people’s homes. They destroy crops, businesses, and entire industries. They cause a nation’s economy to collapse and throw the government into chaos. Although many countries try to care for their displaced, they simply do not have the means.
6. Why should you help refugees?
Other world events have pushed the refugee crisis off the front-page news, so people are giving less and less. You know the old adage: out of sight, out of mind. But the refugee situation is still critical — and those affected need your help now more than ever.
In northern Iraq and Syria, the weather will start getting cooler soon. Families living in thin tents with inadequate clothing and blankets have little protection from the bitterly cold temperatures that are coming. In Uganda, South Sudanese refugees are running out of food. Their monthly ration usually lasts a family for two weeks. And no matter where refugees live, they desperately need medical help. Life in crowded camps means disease spreads quickly. And if left untreated, simple illnesses can quickly turn deadly.
For just $35, you can meet one refugee’s most urgent needs for an entire month. This is a chance for you to give both physical help and spiritual hope since your gift will show a refugee the love of Jesus when he needs it most.
And thanks to generous corporate donors and grants, your $35 multiplies to provide $189 worth of food, medical aid, and more.
7. Does one gift to refugees actually make a difference?
It’s easy to think that because your gift can’t solve the entire refugee crisis, it doesn’t actually make a difference. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Many refugees spend their days in constant fear that they will be unable to feed themselves or their kids, get access to critical medicine and other essentials, or survive long enough to go back home. Your gift means that one struggling refugee doesn’t have to wonder where meals or supplies will come from.
Don’t let the overwhelming size of the crisis keep you from rescuing one person today — right now. By giving $35 to help one refugee, you can literally save someone’s life.