According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees the end of 2020, there were nearly 26.4 million refugees around the world forced to flee their homes because of war, violence, conflict or persecution.
Almost half of them are under the age of 18, some are members of the LBGTQ+ community, some are artists, poets, and creators, some are entrepreneurs — and each has their own unique story and experience.
On World Refugee Day, we want to celebrate their contributions to our communities and the whole world — and step in to help support them.
There are so many organizations around the world working to support refugees — scroll to read about a few of them, and the ways you can help, too!
How To Donate To, Volunteer With, and Support People And Families Fleeing War And Conflict:
According to the UNHCR, there are nearly 26.4 million refugees around the world who have been forced to flee their homes because of war, violence, conflict or persecution. Around half of them are under the age of 18 — each with a unique experience and story to tell.
We can all help support refugees in our communities and around the world — here’s how:
1. How to help LGBTQ+ refugees
It's still illegal to be LGBTQ+ in 70 countries. In these countries, LGBTQ+ people have no human rights protections, face violence and discrimination, and could lose employment or housing. In 11 countries, queer people face the death penalty.
Since 2006, Rainbow Railroad has helped more than 800 persecuted LGBTQ+ people from 38 countries travel to safety — addressing both LGBTQ+ persecution and a global refugee crisis.
→ Learn more and make a donation at rainbowrailroad.org
→ Listen to our podcast episode with the founder of Rainbow Railroad
2. How to help refugee artists and creators
Creative expression is a powerful tool for healing from the trauma of leaving your home.
→ Narratio activates, supports, and highlights the creative expression of displaced young people. Engage with their poetry, art, photography, and storytelling at narratio.org
→ MADE51 offers refugee artisans a way to earn an income, rebuild their livelihood, and re-establish their independence. Shop beautiful refugee-made products at made51.org
3. How to support refugee small business owners and entrepreneurs
According to a 2018 study from the National Immigration Forum, 13% of refugees are business owners (compared to 9% of people born in the U.S.). In 2015, refugee-owned businesses generated $4.6 billion in income.
These businesses make our communities special, but refugees often face barriers like access to startup funding and loans.
→ Encourage your company to support refugee entrepreneurs and small businesses through nonprofit The Tent Partnership for Refugees, invest directly into refugee ventures through Refugee Investment Network, and of course shop and eat at refugee-owned businesses in your community.
4. How help refugees in your community
Many cities around the U.S. have refugee resettlement and support programs you can get involved with. And if not, you can help start one!
→ If you're a person of faith, encourage your congregation to get involved with the refugee community. Check out these Jewish, Christian, and Islamic nonprofits: HIAS, World Relief, and Islamic Relief USA.
→ Volunteer with local initiatives that welcome and support refugees. Visit Welcoming America's resource to find organizations in your area — and how to start one if there isn’t one yet!
→ We've actually put together the most comprehensive list of organizations that support refugees in the United States, organized by state. You can check out the full list, and find a specific way to get involved with refugee nonprofits in your community.
5. Make a difference for refugees around the world
At the end of 2020, the UNHCR estimated at least 82.4 million people around the world had been forced to flee their homes as a result of persecution, conflict, human rights violations, etc. — among them, nearly 26.4 million are classified as refugees.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.
Help support their work by raising awareness (like sharing this article!) and making a donation at unhcr.org
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