World Refugee Day 2012 | Message from the LWF General Secretary
When The Lutheran World Federation was founded in 1947, its first service program provided assistance to refugees in Europe. Today the LWF continues to work with and for refugees and displaced persons. The LWF World Service provides service and care for 1.2 million of the world’s refugees and displaced persons, working in 18 refugee camps in Africa and Asia. In these camps people from many nations live side by side seeking refuge from drought and conflict.
The LWF has 145 member churches with a total of 70 million members. This means that 70 Lutherans together take care of one refugee in this world. In the LWF we are dedicated to our vocation to uphold the rights of the poor and oppressed through our continuing work with refugees, who have been forced to flee their homes because of armed conflicts or natural disasters. Every person we serve has a history of struggle yet has hopes for and dreams for the future. Each person is born with a God-given value and the right to a decent life.
The theme of the United Nations World Refugee Day 2012 is “one refugee without hope is one too many.”
A young Ethiopian woman, Rayika, who lives in the LWF-managed Kakuma refugee camp, northwestern Kenya, puts it powerfully: “when we do have hope that tomorrow will come and that tomorrow will come with a new change within itself, a new place to build you up, then that gives you hope to carry on.”
LWF runs over 20 schools at Kakuma, where it offers 15, 000 school meals to children daily, giving them a better basis for learning. Education offers hope for a sustainable future for our students. However, resources are scarce which leads to difficult learning environments—overcrowded classrooms and a lack of teaching materials and run-down school buildings. There is a need for both political will and concrete funding to be able to uphold a standard for our schools which will offer the children a basic education, which provides hope for the future.
On World Refugee Day, we are reminded of the suffering of too many people who are living as refugees and internally displaced persons in our world. But we are also reminded of the difference we can make by offering a basis of hope for the future through the concrete work that we carry out with support from our member churches and our partners.
20 June 2012