Stand with refugees

by | Feb 2, 2017

This past week, U.S. policies regarding immigration and refugee resettlement shifted significantly under the new presidential administration. The executive order signed last Friday, January 27, 2017 halts refugee admission into the U.S. for 120 days, places an indefinite restriction on Syrian refugees entering the country, and reduces the number of refugees allowed to enter for the remainder of 2017.

The new policies directly hinder the efforts of many resettlement organizations, like our partner World Relief, that are working hard to provide stability for those forced to leave their homes and communities. They also put further strain on the ongoing relief efforts in the Middle East.  While our work at ODW does not directly assist refugees entering the U.S., it focuses on supporting those awaiting resettlement. We are committed to supporting individuals, families, and communities seeking refuge away from conflict and persecution.

We are a movement of everyday people working toward a more just and compassionate world — this will always remain steadfast. 

The Syrian refugee crisis is not new — the uprising of the civil war began in March 2011. To date, roughly 11 million people were forced from their homes, many of which were killed in the violence. Currently, there are over six million people internally displaced within Syria and almost five million registered refugees. It is estimated that there are 13.5 million people in need of emergency humanitarian aid.

In October 2014, we launched a relief effort to support the growing number of displaced persons throughout Syria; however, in response to the worsening conditions in Iraq due to the insurgency of the terrorist organization know as the Islamic State (IS), we expanded our efforts to provide aid in both nations and the surrounding region. We set a fundraising goal of $500,000, our largest to date, to adequately address the severity and scale of this crisis. Since then, we have partnered with World Vision and World Relief to provide basic necessities like food, shelter, medical care, and education to this vulnerable population.

We have impacted thousands of lives in the midst of this crisis; however, the work is far from over. There are still millions of people in need that are waiting to return home or be resettled elsewhere — people like Emime and Roni (pictured right, middle), who were forced from their community in Syria due to the encroaching war. They recount making a long journey, walking many miles, climbing a mountain, and ultimately crawling under barbwire to cross the border into a new country.  Through the generosity of everyday people and our partners on the ground, Emime and Roni are able to continue their education despite being away from their home.

If you are looking for a tangible way to get involved in this issue or simply support those awaiting resettlement, we encourage you to join us as we continue to stand alongside Syrian And Iraqi refugees.

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