World Refugee Day 2020: Every action counts

World Refugee Day is celebrated every year on June 20 to raise awareness of refugees, their challenges, strength, and resiliency. Saint Francis Ministries works with numerous partners, communities, and individuals to help create a more inclusive world. At the end of 2019, more than 79.5 million people had fled their homes to get away from persecution, war, violence, and human rights violations. Everyone can make a difference.

Every action counts.

It is a situation most of us cannot fathom, to leave behind everything familiar and travel hundreds and maybe thousands of miles to try to find safety and stability for our families. The UN Refugee Agency, or UNHCR, leads the charge to bring education and awareness to the plight of refugees, and to help people throughout the world understand how they can support them. The international organization shares stories, raises dollars for support, tracks data, and works to better the lives of refugees everywhere.

This year, UNHCR noted that World Refugee Day falls “in the midst of dramatic social change.”

“A pandemic has tested our strength and highlighted systematic inequalities. It has also connected us in new ways and renewed our motivation to act for equality,” UNHCR said. “In the time of COVID, we celebrate refugees who are on the frontlines fighting this pandemic, their hosts and the aid workers supporting them. We have seen everyday heroes from all walks of life step up to join the front lines.”

The first World Refugee Day was celebrated on June 20, 2001, honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

“World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights, needs and dreams of refugees, helping to mobilize political will and resources so refugees can not only survive but also thrive,” UNHCR says. “While it is important to protect and improve the lives of refugees every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution. Many activities held on World Refugee Day create opportunities to support refugees.”

Saint Francis Migration Ministries provides essential support to refugees in the Wichita, Kansas, area. As Christians, we are called to serve the stranger in our midst. We help refugees resettle and build new lives. As a ministry, we are dedicated to helping those fleeing violence or persecution in their home countries find safety and security in the United States.

Saint Francis Migration Ministries is a partner and affiliate of Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), the refugee resettlement program of the Episcopal Church. SFMM provides essential support to refugees approved through the U.S. Department of State’s Resettlement Program.

Most clients resettled in Wichita come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, and Myanmar (formerly Burma). Many have lived for years in refugee camps abroad while waiting for approval of their eligibility status by the Departments of State and Homeland Security. Learn more about our Migration Ministries work.

This year, we’re celebrating World Refugee Day by sharing stories from refugees and our community partners online beginning June 20 and continuing through the end of the month.. We’ll be sharing them on our Facebook page, and on a special page on our website. We’d love to hear your refugee stories, and you can share them by emailing

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35

Picture of Beth Cormack
Beth Cormack

Beth is the project manager for the Saint Francis Ministries Marketing and Communications team.

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