There are currently 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide of which 25.9 million are refugees and 3.5 million are asylum seekers (February 2020). Unfortunately, as more countries experience unrest, those numbers continue to rise as seen from recent events in Venezuela. Some of these "millions" are single adults or children, many are parents with young families, several have fled with older parents. Each one is looking for a place to call home. Any place to call home.
As the refugee crisis continues, we can expect these numbers to rise. The Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative and the Global Compact on Refugees are working with global partners looking for ways to ease the pressure on host countries and beyond traditional means of finding a place for those have been forcibly displaced.
I recently crossed paths with an interesting woman in Argentina. She had participated in a "community sponsorship" in her city and was now looking for someone to help her sponsor another refugee she had met. Canada is the only country in the world with a working private sponsorship of refugees program, so when I heard that Argentina was allowing citizens to sponsor someone, I had to learn more.
The Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative for several years has been looking for global answers to the current refugee crisis. One solution is Community Sponsorship. As GRSI explains:
Community-based sponsorship programs allow individuals to directly engage in refugee resettlement efforts. Sponsors commit to providing financial, emotional and resettlement support to help newly-arrived refugees integrate into life in a new country.
Countries around the world are starting to explore private sponsorship or community sponsorship, providing their citizens with the means to do something - something that Canadians have been privileged to do for 4 decades. It turns out, Argentina is one of those countries and Susana is one of those citizens. This is her story...
An Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Podcast with Brian Dyck of the Mennonite Central Committee, discussing insights, practical tips, and some of the theology that will help churches engage with refugees.
Written by Nikki, Executive Chairperson for Africa: Love Justice International (www.lovejustice.ngo).
Used by permission.
Lord, we see the disconnect between the world you created in the garden of Eden and the suffering in the world around us, and sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by the enormity of the need.
Forgive us where we have ignored the plight of the suffering and vulnerable because we have felt overwhelmed, didn't know where to start, or thought that it wasn't our responsibility.
This work often contains difficult stories, situations and heart-stopping narratives. So the moments that capture hope, joy and life particularly stand out as memorable.
This week I had the privilege of submitting a sponsorship application for a family that fled their home country in December 2012. They arrived in what they hoped would be a safe country, only to find new threats, and to have suddenly become refugees.
It is difficult for us to imagine what that would be like. Perhaps the first few choices are simple: to leave your home or be killed ... and not just you, but your spouse ... your children. It makes good sense to leave. Falsely accused, it is impossible to present your side of the story. No one in authority will listen. You are on the wrong side. So you move to a new town, perhaps in a new province. Maybe stay with some relatives for a few weeks.