Home Christian News On World Refugee Day, Relief Organizations Celebrate Partnerships With Churches

On World Refugee Day, Relief Organizations Celebrate Partnerships With Churches

World Refugee Day
Pictured: Ibrahim, a refugee from Somalia, sits alongside Simone Bamba, the leader of his sponsor group. Photo credit: Welcome Corps / Axie Breen

Thursday, June 20, marks World Refugee Day, an international day to recognize and celebrate refugees around the world. 

Established by the United Nations in 2001, World Refugee Day has become a rallying point for individuals and organizations seeking to raise awareness and support for refugees who are fleeing from war, persecution, or natural disasters. 

The ongoing refugee crisis is extensive. A report published by the UN Refugee Agency earlier this month found that 120 million people are currently displaced worldwide, and fewer than 1% have been able to resettle in a new country. 

Because of the overwhelming number of people seeking asylum, many refugees live for extended periods of time in legal limbo, unable to return home but also unable to secure work visas, move freely, send their children to school, or become contributing residents of their host countries. 

To rise to this challenge, organizations like Welcome.US are working “to help reimagine the American resettlement system for welcoming refugees, from one that depends solely on the government and resettlement agencies, to one that involves a wider range of Americans, service institutions, and the private sector.”

According to a recent study conducted by Lifeway Research, most evangelicals believe that the United States has a moral obligation to accept refugees who are fleeing religious persecution, natural disasters, and poverty. Welcome.US wants to make it easier for believers to volunteer their time, donate resources in a way that will make an impact, and even directly sponsor refugees. 

Through a new government private sponsorship program launched in January 2023 called the Welcome Corps, groups of at least five can play a crucial role in assisting refugees who are arriving from around the world through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. The Welcome Corps program is overseen by the U.S. Department of State and implemented through the help of seven organizations with expertise in refugee resettlement and protecting vulnerable populations. 

Groups that become Welcome Corps sponsors are responsible to raise $2,425 per refugee and personally assist in their resettlement process within 90 days of their arrival. This assistance includes helping them find housing and employment, enrolling their children in school, and helping them get connected to other resources available in the community. 

Refugees who arrive through the Welcome Corps program not only receive the help they need to navigate a new country, usually during a time of personal distress, but they are also given legal status and a pathway to citizenship.

RELATED: Our Church Sponsored a Refugee Family—It Bridged the Political Divide.

Groups from around the country are becoming sponsors and citing their faith as the motivating factor for getting involved.