Honouring World Refugee Day & Refugee Week 2022

Today is World Refugee Day and the beginning of Refugee Week here in Australia. To honour these important moments, we’re calling for a kindness reset.

With escalating conflict, intensifying climate disasters and more than 100 million people and counting forced to flee their homes in search of safety, we know the global refugee crisis can feel complex and overwhelming.

But change can start in the way we behave towards one another.

Whoever, wherever, whenever; we all struggle, and we all deserve a safe place to belong.

It starts with kindness. If we act with compassion, empathy, and understanding – together we can transform the world. We can help heal what is broken and turn despair into hope.

Over months and years, these everyday acts – the moments we acknowledge each other’s suffering and do something to help – are the building blocks for change.

Despite the difficult times we are living through, people are stepping up to meet the challenge, sharing the burden with those struggling to survive.

Over months and years, these everyday acts – the moments we acknowledge each other’s suffering and do something to help – are the building blocks for change.

Ways that our partners are showing kindness to refugees

Every day, Act for Peace’s local partners, staff and supporters are showing kindness to refugees all over the world – from Afghanistan to Kenya, Jordan, India and Bangladesh.

In Ethiopia

The team at The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (DICAC), our local partner in Ethiopia, have worked to support refugees from conflicts in neighbouring countries over many years, to not only to stabilise their lives, but to invest in their hopes for a better future.

“EOC-DICAC are like family to me, supporting me in many aspects of my life over the past 14 years. I pray to God to help me to get a good life for my children. I hope to work again so I can have my own income and I can live in peace to continue supporting my family.” Jasmine* Martha Tadesse / Act for Peace

When Jasmine and her children arrived in Ethiopia they endured many hardships. Food was scarce and the lack of proper medical care only compounded Jasmine’s chronic health problems. Once they moved to Addis Ababa life became easier, thanks to assistance from our local partner, (DICAC), in the form of medical care, counselling and vocational training. Jasmine is now attending sewing classes so she can earn an income for her family.

“EOC-DICAC are like family to me, supporting me in many aspects of my life over the past 14 years. I pray to God to help me to get a good life for my children. I hope to work again so I can have my own income and I can live in peace to continue supporting my family.”

Jasmine*, mother and refugee living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

In India and Sri Lanka

For over 30 years, the Organisation for Elangai Refugees Rehabilitation Ceylon (OfERR Ceylon) has stood alongside Sri Lankan refugees. Not only providing them with safety in exile in India, but supporting them in their long journey. After all this time, families are now returning home to Sri Lanka and finding a safe place to belong.

“When we didn’t know what to do and how to cross our hurdles, OfERR Ceylon pulled me up by my hand. Because of that help, me, my wife and our four children are well settled. I also hope that other refugees get this constant support to help them live in peace.” Daniyel*. Richard Wainwright / Act for Peace

Daniyel fled Sri Lanka with his parents when he was 20. His family lived in a refugee camp in India for more than a decade – but never gave up their dream of returning home.

After the Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009, Daniyel’s family finally had the chance to return. With the help of OfERR Ceylon his family were supported with citizenship documents and equipment to start his own fishing business.

“When we didn’t know what to do and how to cross our hurdles, OfERR Ceylon pulled me up by my hand. Because of that help, me, my wife and our four children are well settled. I also hope that other refugees get this constant support to help them live in peace.”

Daniyel*, father and refugee who has safely returned to Sri Lanka

Ways that people are showing kindness to refugees in Australia

Today, thousands of people across Australia are waking up to take the Act for Peace Ration Challenge. They’ll live off a refugee’s food rations for one week to raise money and generate more compassion and empathy for millions of displaced people globally.

Today, our team is also coming together in Sydney to call participants to thank them for their kindness and wish them luck on their challenge.

Nickie and Dean are participating in the Ration Challenge this week and have already raised an amazing amount of $2,7000 to support refugees and displaced people. Thank you!
Students from Oakhill College are taking part in this year’s Ration Challenge. Zebedee Parkes / Act for Peace
Leah, thanking our awesome Ration Challengers for eating rations this week to raise awareness and funds for refugees. Zebedee Parkes / Act for Peace

The research proves that kindness is contagious. One person’s generosity can spread.

Do you want to be part of the kindness reset?

Refugee Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on the strength and resilience of refugees around the world. They show tremendous courage, but they can’t do it alone.

If you’d like to help turn despair into hope for refugees and displaced people, you can make a gift here at actforpeace.org.au/kindness.

With your help our local partners can continue to stand alongside refugees and displaced people at different stages of their long journey. It’s through these acts of kindness over the long-term that change can happen, and everyone can find a safe place to belong.

*Name changed for safety reasons

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The international humanitarian agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

Act for Peace acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© Copyright 2021, Act for Peace Ltd ABN 86 619 970 188

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The international humanitarian agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

Act for Peace acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© Copyright 2021, Act for Peace Ltd ABN 86 619 970 188