The Worldwide Refugee Problem
The 2019 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Global Trends report found that at the close of 2018, 70.8 million children, women and men in the world were forcibly displaced, the highest number in the organization’s almost 70-year history. That’s twice as many people as were displaced 20 years earlier and 2.3 million more than in the previous year — and is a number greater than the population of Thailand.
Thousands of Men, Women and Children Have Fled Their Homeland
For background, this video, created in 2016, describes the plight of many who have fled their homeland in an attempt to find a safe place in which to live:
An estimated 37,000 people in the world are forced to flee their homes every day, due to conflict or persecution. On the borders between Turkey and the European Union are Syrians and Afghans — women, children and families who left their country in fear and arrive to find precarious conditions. Overcrowding in refugee camps presents enormous challenges, especially at this time of a global pandemic. For many of the people, the long and perilous miles travelled to reach Europe by sea were more ‘’endurable’’ than the harsh reality of their daily life in the camps.
Thousands More Are Refugees in Their Own Country
Almost two-thirds of those uprooted from their homes are internally displaced people (IDPs) who have not left their homelands.
Khal Bibi is a 23-year-old widow. Her family has been destroyed by the war that afflicts Afghanistan. Bibi’s husband and one of her three children were killed in an airstrike during clashes between government forces and the Taliban. She and her remaining two children are among the 550,000 internally displaced people in Afghanistan who have been forced to flee their villages. —The Washington Post, May 28, 2019
What Can We Do?
Provide bilingual Hoopoe storybooks for families to read in their mother tongue and in the language of their new home
We are privileged to work with partners who have the resources and local understanding to provide schools, libraries and adult literacy classes where they are most needed. We would like to reach many more refugee camps and community centers where families forced to leave their homeland are stranded, not only in the English-speaking world, but in France, Germany and the Middle East. These families are without storybooks in their own languages and from their own culture. Too many children are missing months, even years, of school at a time when a love of reading and learning can mean so much for their lives.
Hoopoe’s traditional tales, which originate in the Middle East and Central Asia, will give refugees and their children a head start. These beautifully illustrated universal tales depicting people and life from their homelands and from a time when their countries were at peace, will not only entertain them but will help them heal, by showing them that they and their homelands are not forgotten.
Learning to read and write frees the mind and opens doors, offering children and adolescents a ladder out of poverty and a path to a promising future. Hoopoe books in bilingual editions offer readers the opportunity to read in the language of their homeland — to which many of them hope to return — and in the European language they might need for their future.
The future for refugees all over the world is uncertain: hundreds of thousands flee their homes in fear, travelling at great risk, reaching communities and countries they hope will be safer for their families and themselves. Sadly, the majority end up on the streets, in the camps, in official and unofficial accommodations. Many are stranded for years and are in a state of complete limbo as they await the outcome of complicated legal processes that have been delayed time and time again.
Our mission is to partner with established agencies that help refugees from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, providing Hoopoe’s traditional stories to as many schools, libraries and adult literacy classes as we can.