Helping Refugees Find Home

This seems like an appropriate time to explain what I mean when I say, “helping refugees find home” and having a goal to “resettle 10 million refugees by 2030 or sooner.”  I have clarified this in other places, but not here in this blog.

To become a refugee a person has fled their “home.”  They are in a new country, in limbo, waiting for something to happen.  Ideally they would like to return to the home they know and love.  Less ideal, but still favorable, is to remain in a region of familiarity.  Less favorable, but new-life-giving, is to establish a new home in a friendly, but unfamiliar country.

Therefore helping refugees find home, does not state, “helping refugees find a NEW home.”  The best solution, if possible would be to help them return to their native homeland under conditions that provide them a normal life.  But everyone deserves a place they can call home.  If that place is a foreign land it is still better than being without a home at all.

By the time most refugees enter the resettlement phase, they have already given up on the idea that they might return to the home they once had.  That’s when they enter a resettlement program and may end up moved to another country.

The United States takes a large percentage of refugees relative to other countries, but a very small percentage relative to the number of refugees.  We also take a small percentage relative to our own population size.

I am not advocating that we resettle 10 million refugees in the United States, that we empty the world’s refugee camps on our shores.  Not at all.  Rather I believe that there is a solution to the world’s refugee problem.  It involves foreign refugee resettlement for some, return to their native home for others, education for most, and change or influence in the countries that are “producing” refugees – so that the problem is reduced in the future.

I do not know the full answer.  If I did I would state it here and in my resettlement handbook.  But my goal has 20 years to be realized.  The answers are out there.  We just have to be open to finding them.

The first part of the equation already exists.  That is resettlement in foreign lands.  If a refugee family ends up in the United States, in our community, our role is to love them and help them adapt to a new home, a place that, at some future time, they and their children will be able to refer to as “their home” too.

One Response to “Helping Refugees Find Home”

  1. Andrew says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I’ve loved reading your stories of success and learning as you and your friends work with these refugee families. I’m the Volunteer Coordinator at the International Rescue Committee’s resettlment office in Tucson, AZ and would like to set up a time to discuss how we could partner with churches and other groups to accomplish similar things in our city.

    Phone: (520) 319-2128

    With thanks,

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