Think back to the last time you were away from home and you were so happy that you didn’t want to go back. Now imagine that you left home that last time from fear for your life, and you can’t go back because you are truly scared. This is what it means to be a refugee.
World Refugee Day is a day to recognize all refugees and to educate the public on the issues surrounding refugees and the reasons as to why these people leave their home countries. Thursday, June 20, 2019, was World Refugee Day, and the city of Philadelphia had several block parties to recognize refugees in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia isn’t the only city that recognizes and celebrates refugees. Many cities around the world are embracing refugees and are thus a part of World Refugee Day. It isn’t just a day for the public to learn about refugees, it is also a day for these individuals to talk about the good things they left behind like friends, family, cultures, food, etc. Refugees can both reminisce about their past while looking forward to their future in their new homes.
This day is important to us here at JEVS Human Services. JEVS began in 1941 as an organization to help immigrants to find meaningful vocation in America. Since then, we have evolved into an organization that is dedicated to “making hope happen” for individuals from all walks of like through a variety of programs. However, this core service remains 78 years later with our Center for New Americans program. This program helps refugees, asylees, and victims of trafficking prepare to enter the workforce, find satisfying jobs ranging from labor to professional positions, and become self-sufficient members of society.
One of our clients, Leonardo, has experienced a smooth transition with assistance from JEVS. He is a refugee from Syria, and upon arriving in the United States, worked with us to learn several different career building skills.
Thus, it means a lot to us here at JEVS to know that the work we began with is not only continued to this day through our Center for New Americans Program, but that it is recognized so largely that it allows for refugees to enjoy their new lives and the public to learn more about this issue.
World Refugee Day is an occasion where refugees can come together to strengthen their communities, eat food from their home nations, and to share in their cultures together. Attendees were dancing, singing, playing instruments, and more. There was lots of fun, laughing, cheering, and reminiscing. It means a lot that all of these people—who were once unable to be in their own homes—are now being praised for being brave enough to leave their homes and start a new one.
By the Numbers
Below you will find an infographic to give you a better understanding of the wide variety of countries from which JEVS clients have fled: