A refugee is someone leaving home for safety for a variety of direct and indirect reasons. Refugee lives have become extremely difficult during Covid-19. Social distancing is impossible in a camp; and the restrictions on travel make finding a safe home even harder.
Refugees can be forgotten during a pandemic when people are focused on thinking about how they can manage and of their closest loved ones and so it felt important to bring awareness to life as a refugee during Refugee Week.
Refugee Week importantly raises awareness on all types of refugees; in camp, in rural settlement, in urban settlement and those who were once refugees and have a background as a refugee; like myself.
Being a refugee myself as a young woman was one the greatest challenges in my life. Although I am no longer a refugee now, the experience I went through is deeply instilled in me and has shaped me greatly. The hardship that came with being a refugee developed my high resilience to life; which has helped me achieve and overcome any obstacle put in the way of my dreams and ambitions for me and my family.
I also had deep and meaningful human experiences which I carry with me all the time. To understand or try to understand where someone is coming from is hugely important to me. That’s why it is my passion to help others and add value to other people’s life and other people.
The UK gave me a safe place to call home; to live in, to grow in and to raise my family in. I feel so grateful for my life right now. As an accountant and business coach, I get to use my journey through life and opportunities in life to give back to others and help them.
Every refugee has a story to share. Some are like mine whereas others are completely different. Leaving your home is one of the hardest decisions to make in life. To leave the life you know, the place you have called home and the friends and family you have spent important years with is a decision I would never wish on anyone. Media depictions of refugees are often incorrect; portraying violence and disruption of others and labelling it as the behaviour of refugees. We bring value to society; sharing new ways of doing things, new skills and new perspectives.
Another common misconception is that refugees are people who have left their country for somewhere new. Refugees are not just people who leave their country. They can be people who leave their homes and have had to move somewhere else in their own country. These are internally displaced people and are also classed as refugees.
Every refugee is different and it’s important that we all recognise that they are not economic migrants. Refugees are fleeing their homes for reasons of safety; whereas economic migrants are people who travel from one country/ area to another in order to improve their standard of living. In most cases the decision to leave home has been taken from refugees who are no longer safe where they are.
Most importantly, we need to remember that refugees are people: women, mothers, children, grandparents; and are all very vulnerable. Issues women face in everyday life; such as inequality and sexism, can be amplified as a refugee; and so we have a global responsibility to provide a safe home.
The UNHCR shows staggering figures of the number of humans needing safety.
And so I hope I have provided some more information on refugees and how important it is to make sure that we are not stereotyping people based on media bias or ignorance.
As adults in a world full of beautiful diversity it is important to continuously educate ourselves. You can find a number of resources, activities and information on refugees by clicking here .