LWF and ecumenical partners link to #WithRefugees solidarity tour

A man plays football with his children in the Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan, while another man, wounded in fighting in Syria, looks on. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT

Faith organizations join hands with UN in campaign for refugees

(LWI) - The #WithRefugees World Tour kicks off today with a sports day in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), World Council of Churches (WCC) and other ecumenical partners are joining hands with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in raising awareness and campaigning for a better life for refugees.

The #WithRefugees tour, organized by UNHCR, runs through 1 October and is made up of dozens of public events to raise awareness and inspire more action for people who have been forced to flee conflict or persecution.

The day-long event in Za’atari includes sports workshops featuring international athletes, including celebrated Egyptian modern pentathlete Aya Medani. The day will culminate in a torch relay with young refugees, including children with disabilities, each carrying the torch 150m of a 5km course.

“By taking action, people can show solidarity and care about refugees. Each individual action counts,” said UNHCR’s Chief of Campaigns, Events and Goodwill Ambassadors, Leigh Foster. “The #WithRefugees campaign has been mobilizing public action, innovation and solidarity for refugees globally - showing when we join together, we can all make a difference for families forced to flee.”

LWF Assistant General Secretary for International Affairs and Human Rights Dr. Ojot Miru Ojulu said supporting refugees and advocating for their human rights has been a core commitment of the LWF since its founding in 1947. “LWF is determined to defend and promote the rights and dignity of refugees in local communities, with national governments and at international policy forums.”

LWF is determined to defend and promote the rights and dignity of refugees in local communities, with national governments and at international policy forums.
LWF Assistant General Secretary for International Affairs and Human Rights Dr. Ojot Miru Ojulu

The LWF has a long-standing history and partnership with UNHCR and is one of its largest partners globally. In the Za’atari camp, which is home to more than 80,000 Syrian refugees, LWF runs the Peace Oasis in Za’atari, providing psychosocial support to youth and children. It is a safe and child friendly space, where children and youth take part in drama, visual arts, games, group discussions, and workshops on conflict mitigation skills.

LWF’s work with UNHCR globally includes refugee camp management, shelter, food distribution, water and sanitation, education, and community services – including support to host communities.

First-ever TEDx event in a refugee camp

In June, the tour will move to Kakuma in north-western Kenya, where the LWF has for 26 years worked with UNHCR serving people fleeing war and famine. The LWF provides a range of services to refugees and the host community, including education, peace-building and conflict resolution, sustainable livelihoods, safety and security in the community, reception of new arrivals, and water for the host community.

On 9 June, Kakuma will host a TEDx talk as a part of the tour, the first ever such event to take place in a refugee camp. The event is designed to offer a different lens into the reality of life as a refugee, away from the images of devastation and suffering, and towards stories of resilience, of contribution and creativity.

In September the WCC will contribute to the tour with a discussion on combating xenophobia, nationalism and populism, along with the ways in which these impact the refugee crisis and the lives of refugees worldwide.

The tour will be a central part of the #WithRefugees campaign this year. Since its launch in 2016, the campaign has recorded more than 18 million actions for refugees including almost two million signatures on a petition calling for all refugees to be able to live in safety, have access to education and be able to support their families.

 

 

Sign the petition

UNHCR press release

#WithRefugees world tour events

Story on WCC website

TEDx Kakuma Camp