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Monday, June 20, 2011

World Refugee Day: Supporting refugees worldwide

Aisha is 10 years old. She used to live in Nalut in western Libya. Then, early this year, violence erupted in Libya, and Aisha and her mother and four brothers had to leave their home. They found shelter in Tunisia at a refugee camp managed by the United Nations. At the camp, Islamic Relief provides 180 Libyan children daily classes and recreational activities. Despite being far away from home, in a state of uncertainty, these classes allow the children to keep up with their studies … and maybe, for a little while, forget their homesickness.

Today is World Refugee Day, and Aisha’s family is among tens of thousands of refugees Islamic Relief USA is caring for around the world. More than 20,000 of these refugees, who fled from violence in Libya, are taking shelter at several camps in Tunisia where Islamic Relief is providing services. At the camp where Aisha is staying, Islamic Relief is focusing on services for the children; at other camps, Islamic Relief teams are providing basic necessities for survival, such as food, water and shelter. Many thousands more refugees have already stayed at these camps and then received help getting home.

As turbulence has spread across the Middle East, Islamic Relief’s effort to help is also growing. Islamic Relief recently launched an effort to provide food and hygiene supplies to 6,000 Syrian refugees who have left their homes to escape violence and taken shelter in northern Lebanon. The first packages for the Syrian refugees and their Lebanese hosts were distributed June 7: Teams handed out 375 kits to 375 families in 19 villages in the Wadi Khaled area. Each family received food, hygiene items and 20 liters of water.

Islamic Relief also recently began providing assistance to people in Yemen who have been displaced by the upheaval there. More than 1,000 internally displaced families will receive hygiene kits and a one-month ration of foods including rice, oil, beans and flour. Teams are also setting up community kitchens in schools.

None of this can take away the fear, the uncertainty, the homesickness the refugees experience … but it gives them hope and the sense that someone cares for them.

Help Islamic Relief help refugees globally. Donate today.

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