Today (June 20) is World Refugee Day, a day when the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) joins the United Nations and the world to commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees, and show support for families forced to leave their homes due to persecution or conflict.
ADRA remains committed to supporting and protecting refugees and other displaced children, women, and men, providing food, shelter, safe water, hygiene goods, psychosocial support and other services to thousands of refugees internally displaced and stateless persons in around 40 countries.
ADRA believes that refugees have a right to live their lives free from the shame of ostracisation or dwell under the shackles of persecution and war. That’s why ADRA continues doing what it does best—serving all who are in need.
In order to have a larger impact, ADRA seeks to go beyond being just the hands and feet of Jesus, but be a voice to those who have been displaced from their homes, overlooked, dismissed, and even shunned.
Along with our 131 network offices and the Adventist Church, ADRA is focusing its efforts to raise the importance of providing education for young people, particularly refugee children and youth.
FOUR MILLION. That’s the number of refugee children and youth who are not attending school, according to The UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Further, refugee children are FIVE TIMES more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children.
The staggering numbers are reasons enough that education for refugee and displaced children is of the utmost importance that requires our undivided attention. [pullquote]
The report additionally indicated that should conflict, displacement and economic collapse continue, these children and youth will be deprived of education, hampering any chances for success in their future. Imagine if that child or young person was given the opportunity to read, to reason, to reflect, and be on their way to accomplishing their full potential; how many communities would be positively impacted by their service because they went to school?
Attending school also helps refugee children integrate with their host community—giving them the opportunity to learn the language, make new friends, and, in the future, attain the qualifications and skills necessary to be self-sufficient, increase confidence, self-worth and dignity, and contribute to their local community and host country.
This is why it is more important than ever before that we set the example founded in Matthew 25 to serve others regardless if those we serve are refugees, or have differences in class status, gender, ethnicity, or disability. ADRA is taking a stand to be Jesus’ voice for change so all may live as God intended.
ADRA promises to speak up on behalf of children who lack access to education, and will rally support for displaced children and all children around the world to have access to education and be given the means to be in school. The future generations of our world should never be denied an opportunity to realize their potential, and strive for educational excellence. Period.
Through education, children and young people living in refuge can lift themselves out of a continued cycle of poverty, live in a world where infancy death rates and malnourishment would significantly be reduced, and countries free from conflict would have established schools with trained teachers in a safe learning environment. In fact, an educated population can have a significant impact in reducing the risk of conflict, and contributes positively to a prosperous society.
We wish to be the change the world needs, but to get there the end goal will take more than just us.
ONE MILLION. That’s the number of signatures ADRA needs urgently to send a message to world leaders that education for all—no exceptions—matters, and action must be taken to ensure EVERY CHILD, EVERYWHERE, IS IN SCHOOL. Sign the petition at ADRA.org/InSchool.
Signing the petition sends an unequivocal message that refugee children and all children matter, and that they deserve a bright future only accessible through the life-changing power of education.
ADRA seeks one million signatures by June 2020. Following that, the petition will be presented to UNICEF and other world leaders in a call to action to ensure EVERY CHILD, EVERYWHERE, IS IN SCHOOL.
Thank you for being the voice for our children and youth, and for making a life-long impact for future generations to come.