What do you think when you hear that word? I picture large groups of people in refugee camps, tent cities and
line-ups for food and water. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are actually 7 different categories that refugees can be sorted in to. They include refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced people (IDPs) and stateless persons.
The stories of refugees and their plight have been in the news lately. 13,000 people have been have been rescued at sea and hundreds of people have lost their lives trying to flee Libya by crossing the Mediterranean Sea to enter Italy. A personal account of someone who has done so can be read HERE.
I have no frame of reference when thinking about refugees. I have never been forced from my home. I have never had to flee violence and war. I have never had to live in a temporary place with no clear plan for the future.
There are more than 14 million refugees worldwide today, along with another 24.5 millions IDPs. 30% of the global refugee population are in Africa and live in places ranging from established camps to makeshift shelters or sometimes out in the open. The average length of stay in a refugee camp is 17 years. In my world (and my northern Ontario life!) the word "camp" indicates a short stay. Summer camp - 1 week. Sports camp - 1 week. Camping trip - 1 week (or less if it's blackfly season).
Those are some staggering numbers and we haven't even delved into the details of what life is actually like for a refugee. Temporary homes have little infrastructure, access to water and medical services are complicated and education for children is an afterthought.
To learn more, a collection of refugees' stories can be read HERE.
These photos below were taken when Krista visited an Internally Displaced Camp in Northern Uganda in 2012.
Sarah lives in Northern Ontario with her family and works at Muskoka Woods Sports Resort. Sarah and her husband have four children, and one grandson. She is an avid reader and learner. In 2012, Sarah launched JustOne with Krista and they travelled to Kenya, Uganda and South Africa together. Sarah is still involved with JustOne through her weekly blog posts, and is a constant source of educating Krista and others on the world's needs. Sarah has a blog we love to read called "Recipe for Messiness" that is about finding beauty amidst our messy lives.