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ADRA Highlights the Plight of Refugee Children and the Power of Education

June 20 is World Refugee Day and World Refugee Sabbath is celebrated June 15.

Iris Argueta, ADRA International
ADRA Highlights the Plight of Refugee Children and the Power of Education
As the world prepares to observe World Refugee Day on June 20 and World Refugee Sabbath on June 15, ADRA reaffirms its commitment to assisting refugees around the world. [Photo: ADRA]

As the world prepares to observe World Refugee Day on June 20 and World Refugee Sabbath on June 15, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) reaffirms its commitment to bringing attention to the challenges faced by millions of families, women, and children forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, violence, and climate change. 

ADRA has been working to aid refugees and internally displaced families for more than four decades. The global agency recognizes especially the plight of the more than 43 million children who are displaced from their homes, and represent more than 41 percent of the world’s refugees, according to United Nations data. 

“Every action we take has a lasting effect on refugees and displaced people who are struggling to survive in many instances without food, housing, and opportunities to succeed. We can’t ignore their anguish or lack of access to basic needs. World Refugee Day serves as a poignant reminder for us to unite in ending their hardships and improving learning opportunities, particularly for young people,” ADRA International president Michael Kruger said.

“ADRA remains committed to improving the lives of refugees and displaced children, families, and individuals worldwide,” Kruger added. “Let us honor World Refugee Day and World Refugee Sabbath in our Adventist communities with a dedication to justice, compassion, and love to create a brighter future for everyone, regardless of their origin or circumstances.”

ADRA Education Initiatives for Refugee Children

Peru: Centers for tutoring, technology, and remedial learning have been established, benefiting more than 1,300 migrant, refugee, and host community children. These centers help improve students’ communication skills.

Bulgaria: ADRA has partnered with UNICEF to launch the “Wings for Our Children” project. This initiative provides education and learning activities to Ukrainian refugee students in at least 17 accommodation centers. Mobile learning services are also available for refugee children in remote areas, with an estimated 1,200 students currently enrolled.

Mali: Classrooms have been constructed or refurbished to offer safe educational environments for about 1,400 displaced students. These students receive school supply kits, safe water, and hygiene resources.

Romania: ADRA launched the “Hope for Ukraine” umbrella project to support more than 500,000 refugees at border crossings and aid those in Romania and Moldova, and internally displaced people in Ukraine. Humanitarian efforts include integrating refugee students into the Romanian education system.

Moldova: ADRA initiated after-school activities for children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

Slovenia: ADRA provides educational activities for displaced families and individuals.

ADRA also supports displaced families in more than 40 nations, including Syria, Brazil, Colombia, Yemen, Bangladesh, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Uganda, through various projects including emergency food, shelter, education, and development.

“We provide education in emergencies and psychosocial support to children on the move because in a humanitarian crisis, children suffer the loss of not just their homes and loved ones but access to education and the safety that schools provide from abuse, exploitation, and recruitment into street gangs or other groups that offer a false sense of safety,” ADRA vice president of humanitarian affairs Imad Madanat said. “This World Refugee Sabbath, we call on you to support our work to ensure education remains a priority in humanitarian response and recovery assistance to protect children on the move.”

ADRA has created resources such as children’s stories, conversation guides, and even recipes to help broaden the understanding of refugees and encourage faith-based groups, communities, and other organizations to address the global refugee crisis.

The United Nations designated June 20 as International World Refugee Day in 2000 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Seventh-day Adventist Church also established World Refugee Sabbath in 2016, observed on the Saturday before World Refugee Day, to encourage the faith community to support refugee families and increase public awareness of their hardship.

The original version of this story was posted by ADRA International.

Iris Argueta, ADRA International