The World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, is an occasion to raise awareness about the situation of millions of refugees worldwide, but also to honour their strength and courage, and their contribution to host societies. Last year on World Refugee Day, LIVED highlighted the resilience and determination of the Syrian families we met during our stay in Jordan.
This year, however, this day has an additional meaning, with the growing number of conflict or climate-related humanitarian crises witnessed globally over the past months. In 2014, UNHCR estimated that the number of displaced individuals reached 59.5 million people, the biggest displacement crisis since the end of WWII. At the end of 2014, Turkey was the largest hosting country with 1.59 million displaced individuals, followed by Pakistan (1.51 million) (UNHCR, 2015).
LIVED engaged with the individual stories of some displaced young people in Jordan, and is currently preparing to do the same with internally displaced young people in Colombia. These few stories only provide a glimpse into the reality of forced displacement, with individuals having to leave their homes in countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Central African Republic, and Nepal to name a few. These humanitarian crises are far from being resolved, and continued and sustainable support remains crucial at a time of scarce resources.
For example, since last Monday (June 15th) the World Food Program, a UN agency, reduced their food rations to refugees in Kenya by 30%. Already receiving food items totalising 2,100 calories per day, the required minimum, the cuts brought down the daily intake to 1,520 calories per day (NY Times, 11 June 2015). This is, however, not the first time that the World Food Program had to cut down food rations in Kenya, due to a global trend of scarce financial resources and growing humanitarian crises.
The individuals facing these challenges urgently require support, which is why on this World Refugee Day, LIVED would like to highlight the need for individuals, national and international governments or organisations to actively contribute to the improvement of the lived experiences of the millions of displaced individuals around the world. The human stories of displacement should not be forgotten, and we are suggesting that for World Refugee Day, you join the ‘Simple Acts’ campaign (http://www.simpleacts.org.uk/), and commit at least one act to either benefit or raise awareness about the situation of displaced individuals.
Some of these acts could include:
1. Attend a Scottish Refugee Week’s event.
2. Get in touch with your MP.
3. Share a fact about displacement.
4. Read a book about the individual stories of displacement.
5. Give a financial donation to LIVED or any other organisation supporting displaced individuals.
6. Share on social media the trailer of LIVED’s documentary Learning to Swim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfXJJoKQkVE)
For more ideas, please visit http://www.simpleacts.org.uk/. If you would like to share your ‘Simple Act’ with us, you can do so on our facebook page or twitter @LIVEDprojects.
Video from the 'Simple Acts' Campaign:
 Gladstone, Rick. ‘As Supplies Dwindle, World Food Program Cutting Rations to Refugees in Kenya’, NY Times, 11 June 2015. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/12/world/africa/world-food-program-aid-refugee-camps-kenya.html?module=WatchingPortal®ion=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=none&state=standard&contentPlacement=1&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2015%2F06%2F12%2Fworld%2Fafrica%2Fworld-food-program-aid-refugee-camps-kenya.html&eventName=Watching-article-click&_r=1