WORLD REFUGEE DAY: In solidarity with the world’s refugees

Today, on World Refugee Day, we stand in solidarity with the millions of women, men and children worldwide who have had to flee to escape war and violence. We stand with those who have lost family members, and with those who have been uprooted from their lives and whose homes have been destroyed.

The number of displaced persons has reached unprecedented figures of 70.8 million – a steady increase since the birth of Better Shelter and a twofold increase in only ten years. Meanwhile, protracted refugee situations last for 26 years on average.

As long as Better Shelter makes a positive difference in peoples’ lives, we will continue to work tirelessly towards our vision of a world in which all people have a safe place to call home. Every day, but today especially, we reflect on the privilege of doing what we do – to improve the living situation of displaced families together with humanitarian partners and individuals around the world who dedicate their lives to preserve peace and protect the lives of others. Supporting those in need is a privilege, but above all, it is an obligation that we all share. With so many people in dire need of protection, it is more important than ever to welcome strangers with open hearts and arms. We have to keep defending every person’s right to a life in dignity, safety and freedom. Together we must continue to build diverse communities, where everyone feels at home no matter where they come from or what religion they subscribe to, and regardless of what they look like or who they love.

We have met many courageous people over the years who have all survived dangerous and violent conflicts, only because they managed to escape in time. We sincerely wish for a brighter future for all the girls and boys that grow up in displacement today and hope that they will be able to find a safe and permanent home, wherever that may be.

BANGLADESH: Khadija, 27, Rohingya refugee from Myanmar in the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. “I have been in this camp with my husband, my son and our two daughters since 2017. It is not safe for us to return home yet, and until it is, we will stay here.” © Better Shelter
IRAQI KURDISTAN: Three friends who were all born in the camp they currently live in. © Better Shelter
TANZANIA: Joana Niyokwizera, 52 lives in Kigoma Refugee Camp with three children and one grandchild. They were forced to flee Burundi in 2016 when threatened by armed groups – specifically, she was accused of sending one of her sons into the forest for military training. When they fled, they were stopped along the way by armed groups as well, who took their remaining belongings. After several days of walking, they made it across the border into Tanzania and received assistance from UNHCR. © UNHCR/Clemence Eliah
IRAQI KURDISTAN: Nawal, 75, internally displaced within the borders of her own country, Iraqi Kurdistan. “I live in this camp with my son, his wife and their two children. We arrived here in 2014, after escaping ISIS. Some people have returned to our region Saladin since it was taken back from ISIS, and we hope to return someday too, but the houses are destroyed and there is nothing there.” © Better Shelter
BRAZIL: Zencija Jimenez from Venezuela inside her Better Shelter home in Rondon 3 refugee camp, Boa Vista, Brazil. © UNHCR / Allana Ferreira