The Refugee Crisis
There are 25.9 million refugees in the world today (UNHCR, 2019). Since the height of the Refugee Crisis in 2015, there has been a reawakening to the need to show concern and care for those fleeing war, famine and persecution across the globe. Refugees leave their homes, families, communities, employment… their whole lives behind. Arriving in a new country can add to the trauma and stress they experience. Difficult asylum systems and restrictions mean it can be extremely difficult for refugees to rebuild their lives.
‘In May 2015 ISIS came to my village. I didn’t see any good things in them. When I was not at home ISIS came to my house and they killed all my family. When I saw this happen to my family I was very angry and felt hopeless.’ Abbas - Kurdish refugee.
According to the UNHCR there are approximately 157,000 refugees and asylum seekers living in the UK (UNHCR, 2018). This is about 0.006% of the total number of refugees in the world today. Refugees and asylum seekers usually don’t have a choice where they live in the UK meaning that they can be very isolated and alone. Restrictions to English language classes mean that they struggle to integrate and make friends in the community they find themselves.
‘Before I found the church, I was really struggling. All my family was gone. I felt so lonely and lost.’ Abbas - Kurdish refugee
The opportunity for the Church
Churches are ready-made communities where refugees can find a family to belong. Often at the centre of local communities, churches can introduce refugees to local people, help them to learn English and to develop their skills. This means that they can contribute to the local community and integrate effectively.
‘I remember the first time I visited my church; I felt so welcome and I found a new life. I was really encouraged, especially when people prayed for me. I had lost my whole family, but with my church I have found a new home and a new family.’ Abbas - Kurdish refugee