“It is non-negotiable: seeking safety is a human right.”
World Refugee Day on June 20th is designated by the United Nations to honor refugees around the globe. It celebrates the strength and courage of those forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. It is a day for empathy and understanding recognizing resilience in rebuilding lives.
A recently released survey by IPOS reveals a global country average of 78% of people in the 28 countries surveyed agreed in principle that people should be able to take refuge in other countries, including their own, to escape war or persecution. Over 100 million people are now forcibly displaced worldwide in light of the Russian war in Ukraine, which is the fastest displacement crisis in recent times.
As a third-generation Palestinian refugee who immigrated to Canada, I understand first-hand how a single opportunity can change lives. I have always believed displacement is part of the DNA of humanity. The origin of humankind itself was allegedly born around a conflict that forced Adam and Eve to relocate from heaven to earth.
Looking at our historic ancestors from near, far, north, south, east, or west, all were forced to seek a safe refuge at some point in their lives. We should be compassionate towards those who forcibly fled their homes, villages, countries, and families, leaving behind everything they know as they head towards uncertainty and fear.
At OBCIDO, supporting refugees is one of our core pillars. It only takes an act of solidarity to move the wheel of transformation. One single effort can help save lives - how can your company contribute and help with displacement?
From citizens to refugees, everything can be lost in the blink of an eye. Supporting this vulnerable global community can be achieved on multi-levels.
For example, companies can provide pro bono work. A Canadian immigration firm dedicated a budget to providing free assistance to refugees with their paperwork. At OBCIDO, we will build websites, without charge, for organizations helping refugees. Our commitment is to utilize our resources in this much-needed collective effort.
Employment is a sustainable way for companies to support refugees and benefit their businesses simultaneously. The skills and attributes of displaced people represent a significant economic potential for host countries.
UNHCR and many organizations offer resources to help identify the skills suitable for your corporation's needs. Companies must look beyond borders to engage refugee employees.
Hiring refugees has a massive impact as inclusion becomes a vehicle for refugees to excel and give back to their receiving country. Currently, OBCIDO has two Ukrainian refugees on our global team, in addition to our CEO, Omar Kandil, who lived as a Syrian refugee in Lebanon before relocating to Turkey.
Refugees require ongoing relief and protection provided by many organizations. UNHCR reports that hundreds of thousands of displaced people live in extreme poverty due to the deteriorating economic situation around the world, in addition to emerging wars and refugee crises.
Now more than ever, these families require our help. Donating to UNHCR and other organizations helps provide shelter, food, water, medicine, and ongoing urgent needs. These donations are tax-deductible for corporations.
Being born a refugee, I understand a displaced person's feeling: hunger to excel, prove oneself, and turn their story of misery into a success story. Although they left everything behind, refugees need to ignite their energies, stories, and ideas.
Investing in ventures by refugees ensures you have hard-working, passionate people excelling at returning your investment while positively impacting the world.
Promoting your support of refugees serves many levels of solidarity. First, it is crucial to create a sense of belonging and inclusion for refugees in their host countries. On a more complex level, promoting refugee support and issues help combat the rhetoric of xenophobia and racism that has risen in the past two decades.
The world is witnessing new conflicts and wars. We must show humanity and compassion among each other, especially towards the most vulnerable. Demonstrating your company cares about this global crisis helps raise awareness and builds bridges between refugees and the international community.
On this World Refugee Day, we call on companies to support and invest in any way. Please help the plight. #WithRefugees