Every Child
9/18/15 at 10:06 AM 0 Comments

As Syrian Refugees Cry Out for Assistance, We Must Follow Our Great-Grandparents’ Lead

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The Syrian refugee crisis has reached a critical point. We are currently amidst the worst refugee crisis since World War II and much help is needed outside of the immediate escape routes via the Middle East and Europe. Over 4 million refugees have fled from Syria into Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, but those countries are not sufficiently equipped or large enough to provide safety and shelter to all those who need it. Additionally, as countries across Europe discuss how they are going to step up to assist those in dire need, it’s our time as Americans to open our hearts once again to those who have been displaced due to violence and persecution.

It’s a gross understatement to say that refugees from Syria are devastated by what has become of their beloved country – thus far, more than 8 million have fled their country because of the fighting. Many that have risked their lives and managed to escape still have family living in Syria and understandably are frightened for their safety and well-being.

While the United States has opened its arms to refugees in the past, less than 1,500 refugees have found solace within our country this year, compared to the hundreds of thousands seeking refuge in countries surrounding Syria. Many compassionate Americans are petitioning to urge the United States to demonstrate leadership during this global crisis by allowing 100,000 Syrian refugees to resettle within our borders. As the president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services, an organization committed to bringing and keeping families together, I support this call to action and hope that you will join these efforts as well. Bethany’s refugee resettlement program partners with local churches, volunteers, and other support organizations to ensure that all refugees have a smooth transition to their new home.

The physical needs and emotional trauma of those uprooted from their homes are great. Many have arrived to safety with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Refugees that have spent months – years in some cases – moving from location to location are now looking for permanence in their lives after the heartbreak of leaving everything behind in search of protection. Those few who have come to the United States are appreciative of the support they have received to help their transition. However, given the work Bethany has conducted before on behalf of refugees from countries around the world, I know there is so much more we can do.

As individuals continue to flee persecution and, in far too many instances, death at the hands of extremists and oppressive regimes, agencies with refugee support and resettlement programs like Bethany will remain an essential resource for those who pursue a safe and secure place to call home.
Getting involved and making a difference in the lives of those that have suffered for far too long is simple. Whether it’s through volunteer work, donating necessary items to local refugee resettlement programs or donating to organizations such as Bethany or Church World Services, who work with other agencies to provide emergency food, clean water, blankets and other relief to refugee families, your contributions are vital.

Our grandparents and great-grandparents met countless refugees from across the world with compassion and welcome during World War II. In this time of emergency, we must do the same.

For more information on Bethany’s refugee resettlement efforts and how you can help families and individuals in crisis, visit www.Bethany.org/other-services/refugee-and-immigrant-services.

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