This past June 20 was World Refugee Day—the most important day to raise awareness for the global refugee crisis, and to highlight all the contributions that refugees bring to our world. In 2020, the day came at an especially unprecedented time during the COVID-19 global pandemic. This year we are recognizing refugees, once in need of aid and welcome themselves, who are now keeping us safe by fighting COVID-19.
Every day around the globe, refugees are working in hospitals and healthcare centers as doctors, nurses, volunteers, and more, all risking their lives to help the sick and vulnerable. For World Refugee Day, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is putting their stories front and center. Stories like Dr. Edna, a gynecologist who fled Venezuela with her family as the country descended into crisis and now works for the IRC in Colombia caring for other refugees. Hear more about her story and other refugee healthcare workers here.
We have also been recognizing our corporate partners like Johnson & Johnson who have stepped up with rapid support to organizations, like the IRC, that are fighting COVID-19, and offering their own expertise in developing solutions to the response. With support from the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, we have been able to strengthen our critical programming in two countries—Jordan and Syria—with especially large refugee communities that are among the most vulnerable to the pandemic.
In Jordan, we’ve been able to continue direct delivery of health services in the Azraq and Zaatari refugee camps, with modifications since the virus outbreak. We have provided over 3,500 medical consultations in total since the Jordanian government implemented a lockdown on March 19, 2020. In Syria, where nine years of conflict have left the health system in ruins, the partnership will support IRC’s urgent efforts to provide the critical medical equipment and case management support needed for healthcare facilities. Visit rescue.org to learn more about our response to supporting healthcare workers and refugees in Syria and other conflict zones.
If you’re looking for ways to get involved in the IRC’s campaign for World Refugee Day, here are actions you can take:
- Thank refugee healthcare workers: Visit Rescue.org/WorldRefugeeDay to send a personal note thanking refugee essential workers for their courage and contributions.
- Donate to the IRC: Make a gift to ensure our health teams and humanitarian staff can continue to provide lifesaving care to vulnerable communities around the world.
- Advocate (if you’re in the U.S.): Honor refugees by commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Refugee Act and reminding legislators to continue welcoming refugees to the United States. Write to your members of Congress today.
About the IRC
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.