Most leave with only the clothes on their backs. Most carry no possessions, just the hope of finding a safer place that will lead to a better life someday, somewhere. There is no shelter in a homeland overtaken by conflict and violence. There is no peace when the very air they breathe is heavy with the possibility of persecution.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 43.7 million refugees and displaced people around the world. The UNHCR is able to help only 33.9 million. To call attention to the plight of these refugees, the United Nations and countless organizations around the world mark June 20 as World Refugee Day.
Special Envoy of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie said the “UNHCR believes even one person forced to flee is too many. And it’s true. Every individual refugee matters. Each has their own story. Each has suffered and survived more than I could ever bear. And yet, they rise up to live another day.”
All those people — men, women and children who walk hundreds, thousands of miles hoping to find food, water, shelter and some form of peace and safety — they inspire me. When I feel too tired, or bothered to do one more thing, I will think of how they have no choice and I do. I will remember their strength and courage and how “they rise up to live another day.”