Hoping for a place to belong

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

-Emily Dickinson

In the face of surging refugee statistics, ongoing conflicts and emerging crises, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Even hopeless. And yet, for people who are displaced, hope is often the reference point that individuals cling to. Hope to rebuild their lives and create a brighter future for their families.

Hopelessness may be what drives people to leave their homes in the first place, but it’s hope that inspires them to find a new place to belong. Act for Peace CEO, Elijah Buol OAM, understands what it means to lean into hope in the most desperate situations.

“I lost my parents to conflict when I was a child and grew up with other orphans in refugee camps in South Sudan and Uganda,” says Elijah. “And there are points where you become hopeless or become hopeful. The majority of us, myself included, walked that narrow path in between.”

New Act for Peace CEO, Elijah Buol OAM
Act for Peace CEO, Elijah Buol OAM, believes hope is a driving force for people to rebuild their lives. Act for Peace

According to Elijah, it’s in that space between hopelessness and hopefulness that Act for Peace supporters can make a real difference for people experiencing displacement.

“If we can create that space where we can say to someone ‘you will have a meal tomorrow, you’ll have shelter tomorrow’, that inspires hope,” he says.

“With a compassionate heart we say, every little step we take will create an impact for the future. I’m passionate about building a sense of hope and I think Act for Peace and our supporters bring that hope to those who need it.”

Act for Peace’s partnership model means working alongside our partners in the field, our members, staff and government agencies, mobilising together to create a global village. A global village that is working together to empower people who are displaced, to find a place to belong.

“[We are creating] a global village where we can all go out and create meaningful change and bring hope. We are the creators of the future, and it requires bringing our hearts, minds and souls together to create a world where everyone belongs, says Elijah.

Elijah himself is evidence of the greatness that can be achieved when hope is found.

After spending years in refugee camps, he arrived in Australia in 2002 as a humanitarian unaccompanied minor. But his hope for a brighter future motivated him to pursue excellence and fight for change for other refugees.

That motivation led to numerous academic achievements, leadership positions and awards for advocacy and community service including a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2019.

According to Elijah, it’s important to remember that refugees have hopes and aspirations and we can help them reach their goals.

“People who are displaced are not just numbers,” he says. “A lot of them, like me, will follow their dreams and may end up becoming a CEO! They can become people who can have positive influence in the world in the future.”

People who are displaced by conflict or disaster, have hopes and aspirations.
Richard Wainwright/Act for Peace

Thank you for continuing to partner with us to create hope for people who need it most.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace… Romans 13:15

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