World Refugee Day

During the year that we lived in San Francisco’s East Bay, I attended a number of earthquake-preparedness classes in an attempt to quell my natural disaster fears.  In the various seminars, I learned the importance of keeping a backpack of supplies in the car as well as the house, stockpiling food and water, keeping shoes and a flashlight in a bag attached to my bed, etc.  One of the workshops I attended focused on fleeing.  We were encouraged to put together a list of the things we would collect if we had an hour, or a half hour, or, in an incredibly trying situation, just 5 minutes before we needed to evacuate. We were told to make lists for travel by car, but also by foot.  I think that’s when I began to cry.  I had an 8 year old, and my baby newly arrived from Ethiopia–I couldn’t imagine being trapped in the Oakland Hills, careening my way down a steep grade with a baby in a sling and all of my possessions on my back. Forget the negatives from all of our family photos, I don’t think I could haul enough formula and diapers to keep us out of danger for more than a few days.

Our year in California ended without a single terrifying evacuation down the hillside.  But, for millions of people each year, my nightmarish, worst-case scenario is their collective reality.  Today, the United Nations marks World Refugee Day. According to their website:

This year the UN refugee agency, in its 60th year, will mark World Refugee Day with a rich and varied programme of events in locations worldwide and the launch of a new global awareness campaign. UNHCR will start rolling out the multimedia “One” campaign next week. Over the next six months it will increase awareness about the forcibly displaced and stateless by telling their powerful personal stories. The campaign will carry the message that “One Refugee Without Hope is too Many.” Every day, millions of refugees face murder, rape and terror. We believe even 1 is too many.

While Ethiopian Orphan Relief doesn’t serve the refugee, we do serve the displaced.  The orphans we serve have been forced to leave the only home they’ve known, seeking refuge, education, and relief from hunger outside of their primary communities.  Much like refugees who flee strife, these children rely on others to meet their every basic need.

Ethiopian Orphan Relief is committed to restoring hope to those who have none.  With every brick that we add to the center in Shanto, we create a home for those who are currently homeless.

Last week, we asked our 1000+ supporters to each donate $6 to finish the building project at FOVC.  5 days later, we are more than $1000 closer to our goal.  If you’ve given–thank you. If you haven’t, please consider joining us.  World Refugee Day reminds us that everyone should have a place to call home.



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