by Kristen Pelletier
#StepWithRefugees is the theme of World Refugee Day 2019, which is observed each year on June 20. This day is an opportunity for Canadians and other global citizens to learn more about refugees and migration and to stand in solidarity with the millions of refugees around the world.
World Refugee Day is about understanding the reasons people are forced from their homes, the difficulties refugees face as a result of their migration and standing together to support the over 71 million people who are forcibly displaced worldwide. This map shows the locations of displaced people around the world.
GlobalMedic is responding. Many of GlobalMedic’s programs target refugee populations as the primary recipients of humanitarian aid. One type of aid that GlobalMedic sends to refugee families all over the world are Family Emergency Kits. Each kit contains a water purification solution, hygiene items such as soap and toothbrushes, and any other items that will help families face the difficulties in the wake of disaster such as oral rehydration salts, Lucky Iron Fish to treat and prevent anemia or a solar light. All of these items are packed in a food-grade plastic bucket with a lid and put in a box to be shipped all over the world. These kits allow refugees to maintain their basic needs, like accessing clean water and maintaining good hygiene, while living in difficult situations.
In Venezuela over 4 million people have fled violence, insecurity, threats, a lack of food, medicine, and other basic services, and gone to neighbouring countries like Peru and Ecuador. Similarly, over 1 million Rohingya Muslims have fled religious persecution in Myanmar and have settled in Bangladesh. GlobalMedic is responding to both of these crises by delivering aid such as Family Emergency Kits, hygiene items and water purification tablets to refugees in host countries like Ecuador and Bangladesh.
Due to nearly nine years of conflict in Syria, over 13 million Syrians have been forced to flee their country and become refugees in countries like Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. GlobalMedic has responded by providing Family Emergency Kits, medical equipment, protective clothing and hygiene items. Additionally, GlobalMedic has launched an Emergency Food Program that creates food kits with a culturally appropriate and nutritious emergency meal. Our pilot for this program worked with Syrian refugee chefs in Toronto to design and reverse engineer a traditional Syrian meal called mujaddara into an emergency food kit. These kits are being distributed to Syrian refugees lacking food security in the neighbouring countries.
Canada also hosts more than 50,000 Syrian refugees. GlobalMedic has supported these Syrian families by providing Welcome to Canada kits and donating furniture to refugee families settling in their new homes here.
This year for World Refugee Day, GlobalMedic will be packing Family Emergency Kits in solidarity with the millions of refugees around the world and will continue responding to disasters affecting refugees around the globe by providing desperately needed humanitarian assistance, such as emergency food and safe drinking water in an efficient and effective manner.