Basema is 11 years old and she still feels scared when she thinks about the day she escaped her village in Iraq. She remembers soldiers storming into her village, and her family escaping on foot. “We left without a car,” she said. “We took nothing with us”. Along the way, soldiers kept shooting at them. She cried and cried as she walked with her family for many days. Finally, they reached safety at a camp for displaced families like hers.
Thankfully, the camp where Basema lives is a little nicer than the one you’ve seen today. Crossroads helped a school in the USA send their donated school furniture (below) to Iraq to help set up a centre for refugee children in this camp. It’s a place where they can play, learn and get counselling to cope with their frightening memories.
Learning more about refugees
- There are roughly 100 million forcibly displaced people in the world
- Some refugees have been living in camps for 20 years or more.
- People can be displaced from their home by earthquakes, floods, war, violence, genocide and persecution.
- Around 40% of the world’s displaced people are children. 153,300 of them are unaccompanied, or separated from their families.
- One person is forcibly displaced roughly every two seconds
- The world’s largest refugee camp is in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. It houses more than 800,000 people.
Click here for more information about refugees and displacement.
How you can help
- Help Hong Kong refugees
- There may be asylum seekers and refugees living in your own local community or even at your school. Reach out and make a new friend! Or, look up Hong Kong NGOs who help them and ask how you can get involved.
- Donate or collect goods
- Many of Crossroads’ partners work with refugees and internally displaced people all over the world. Find out more about how you can help.
- Empathise through simulations
- Gather a group of friends, a school group or your family and book a refugee simulation at Crossroads. We have one for older kids and adults and one for younger kids.
- Shop to help refugees
- Crossroads and other fair trade/refugee organisations in Hong Kong sell goods made by refugees. These help people support themselves through their art, as well as improving skills.
- I have ideas of my own!
- Got your own ideas? Gather some people around to help you, make a plan, and make it happen!