The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, joined the 2023 Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from December 13 to 15.
The global event brought together governments, advocates, and international organizations representing refugees to address the challenges and establish tangible actions, as well as solutions that will enhance the lives of refugees and host communities around the world.
According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 90 million people around the world have been displaced, forced to flee their homes or nations, and become refugees because of conflict, persecution, or natural disaster. Among them, 41 percent are children under the age of 18.
The 2023 GRF objectives to support the practical implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees include developing strategies to relieve pressures on host countries; expanding refugee self-reliance; increasing access to third-country solutions; and improving conditions in countries of origin so refugees can return safely and with dignity.
“Many people in an increasing number of countries worldwide see cross-border mobility as an effective mechanism for adapting to the different types of shocks being experienced today,” Akintayo Odeyemi, ADRA’s director for the United Nations Liaison Office, said. “The solution to the refugee challenge starts with me, with each of us. Everyone has a role to play in solving the refugee crisis.”
ADRA’s Role at GRF
ADRA has been serving and helping refugees for more than 40 years by integrating health, education, and livelihood projects, as well as disaster preparedness and recovery efforts. As a GRF expert in refugee humanitarian relief operations, ADRA is sharing experiences, best practices, and innovative approaches for dealing with refugee crises. Additionally, the non-profit agency plans to announce a pledge to address statelessness in the Asia-Pacific region.
The global humanitarian agency is also participating in GRF Education Alliance meetings and hosting an exhibit on ADRA’s performance in education during emergencies. The display highlights ADRA’s achievements in advocacy and development projects that help refugee children stay in school during natural disasters, conflicts, and other emergencies.
ADRA’s GRF History
At the 2019 GRF, ADRA announced its global campaign Every Child. Everywhere. In School. in partnership with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to address the systems and barriers that prevent children from gaining education.According to UN reports, refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee students.
“Through our Every Child. Everywhere. In School. campaign, we were able to collect over 1.3 million signatures from community leaders, educators, and decision-makers worldwide who are committed to providing education to children in vulnerable communities, especially kids on the move and displaced, regardless of race, age, nationality, religion, or origin,” Imad Madanat, ADRA’s vice president for humanitarian affairs and network standards, said. “This initiative also led to increased government education funding and improved policies, as well as created new research and partnerships, expanded education training, and improved community education programs. ADRA is dedicated to working together with GRF partners to discover transformative solutions for refugees and host communities.”
During the 2019 forum, the global humanitarian agency also pledged initiatives such as child protection procedures, psychological support, and academic assistance for internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugee children. ADRA implemented these projects in Peru, Mali, Thailand, Syria, and Sudan, and committed more than US$1 million to life-saving interventions in several South American countries to assist migrants from Venezuela.
ADRA plans to broaden its GRF partnership base for refugee care to continue executing initiatives that improve integration into host communities, its leaders said. ADRA also relies on donor contributions to provide the resources necessary for refugees and displaced families to have fulfilling lives.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is serving humanitarian needs in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.