World Refugee Day celebrates courage and resilience

Saint Francis Migration Ministries (SFMM) hosted a celebration yesterday in Wichita to commemorate World Refugee Day, a day set aside each year to honor the courage, sacrifice, and resilience of refugees around the world.

It was a festive event, with booths, food, music, crafts, booths, and games for the kids. Several churches, along with many of our community partners and friends, also participated. It was a wonderful celebration of friendship and community that highlighted and honored our shared humanity.

Here are a few facts about refugees, courtesy Global Giving:

  • Of the 65 million persons forcibly displaced around the world, about 21 million are refugees.
  • Each day, about 42,500 people flee their homes to seek protection within the borders of their own country or other countries.
  • Nearly 90 percent of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries.
  • Of the 21 million refugees worldwide, more than half are children.

Saint Francis Migration Ministries helps those fleeing violence or persecution in their home countries find safety and security in the United States. As an affiliate of Episcopal Migration Ministries, we help asylum-seekers resettle and build new lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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 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.

Our work begins while our clients are still overseas as we plan for their arrival and mobilize services and resources necessary for successful resettlement. Our face-to-face work starts when we greet clients at the airport and welcome them to their new home. Then, with help from our network of community volunteers and partners, we provide support with housing, food, clothing, furnishing, and health screenings.