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World Refugee Day: Recognizing Those Who Give Voice and Hope to the Most Vulnerable

Two refugee children play at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Northwest Kenya.

People around the world are fleeing their communities in search of safe places to call home.  On World Refugee Day, June 20, we especially recognize the more than 3 million refugees in Africa, many of whom have been displaced for a decade or more. 

While war remains the primary reason for displacement, according to the United Nations refugees are also fleeing their homes because their farmland is no longer productive or ongoing drought has dried up water sources—the effects of environmental degradation and climate change.  After losing their homes and often being separated from family and friends, many refugees are exposed to abuse, particularly women and girls, who face sexual assault and rape.  

RefugePoint, a new Aid for Africa member, seeks lasting solutions for the most at-risk refugees throughout Africa. RefugePoint permanently relocates refugees from life-threatening situations to countries where they can rebuild their lives in safety with dignity.

In Nairobi, Kenya, a major destination point for refugees across East Africa, RefugePoint provides urgently needed services to refugees from the region.  Eligible refugees receive emergency food, housing, and medical care, and they are helped to create a plan for self-reliance.  RefugePoint’s work was recently highlighted in the New York Times

Aid for Africa member Alliance for African Assistance  provides help to displaced victims in war-torn northern Uganda and addresses the needs of the growing African refugee population in and near San Diego, California.  Assisting refugees as they transition to life in the United States, the Alliance provides a range of services, including the recently initiated LGBT Refugee and Asylee Services that address the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender refugees.

For 30 years, Aid for Africa member African Services Committee has supported Africans new to the New York City area with legal, housing, and health assistance.  And in South Africa, the Southern African Legal Services Foundation supports legal assistance to help integrate refugees living in South Africa, many of whom are Zimbabwean asylum seekers who have faced violent reprisals in South Africa.

On World Refugee Day, Aid for Africa applauds the organizations and advocates who work to give voice to the world’s most vulnerable citizens—its refugees.