World Refugee day reminds us each year of the harrowing experiences refugees have had to overcome, as we collectively fled war zones, political violence, ethnic persecution and more, only to end up in squalid and forgotten refugee camps, oftentimes for decades. Nobody wants to be a refugee by choice. Often, refugees are coerced to leave their homes and hearths with nothing but life and a little bit of hope of survival. They are forced to leave because of violence or some sort of natural or man-made disaster. Many of today’s refugees are the result of civil war in their homeland, such as refugees fleeing Syria and Yemen. Refugees all share horrible stories and their stories differ depending on who you ask. Refugees are vulnerable and in need of everything; they are misunderstood and maligned, and often have a very little or nothing for survival. Refugees suffer cold, hunger, trauma, despair, anxieties, separation, diseases, violence and loss. It is important to understand that refugees escape thousands of painful memories and, even after resettlement, face a constant struggle just to wake to a better day and push away the past.
Today there are over 71 million refugees throughout the world. A refugee’s life is in no way a lifestyle anyone would even imagine choosing. Refugees are the members of the global community, and they should not be isolated or segregated simply because of their nation of origin, religion, race, color, or creed. In fact, if proper avenues are provided, refuges have proven themselves to be the most diligent, hard-working, and self-dependent communities. They contribute to the economy at various levels, ranging from ordinary manual workers up to great academics, doctors and scientists like Einstein.
We cannot give enough thanks to various international organizations and local organizations in Michigan for aiding us while we were in refugee camps in Nepal and accepting us in your communities. We will ever remain indebted to the US government for opening the door for permanent resettlement. Without the efforts from the US and internal communities, we would not have been living the life we are living now – free and unafraid, with profound liberty and happiness.
Our message to everyone on World Refugee Day is that we hope everyone would take a moment to understand the history behind any refugee, and please do not judge them by their religious background, race, color, and nationality. They need a good mentor, friend, and neighbor more than anything.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic uncertainty moving forward, refugees around the world are the one struggling with even with basic needs for survival. More than ever, this is a time for all of us to rise above our divisions to show humanity, compassion and empathy to fellow human beings encountering the travails of refugee life in the midst of global upheaval. Let us resolve to make World Refugee Day in 2020 one of the most defining moments of our time – but to do that, I am going to need your help and perseverance and love.