Supporting Refugees - Kathy Varol

Supporting Refugees


Real and imagined barriers have isolated countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Mali and Iraq from international trade and tourism. The result is that pathways to some of the world’s most extraordinary places, people and cultures have narrowed, or in some cases, disappeared altogether.
– Edmund Le Brun

This quote is from my conversation with Edmund, co-founder of the wonderful social enterprise ISHKAR which uses trade and travel as a means to create economic opportunities in countries impacted and cut off from the larger world by war and conflict. This business began through collaboration with traditional Afghan glassblowers, and I’ve been thinking about this conversation a lot as the most recent heartbreaking tragedy rolls through Afghanistan and the country returns to war and bomb blasts.

Afghans desperately fleeing for safety as the Taliban takes over will add to the already astronomical number of people globally that have been forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. At the end of 2020 the number of globally displaced people was estimated at 82.4 million.

That means, 1 in every 95 people on earth has fled their home as a result of conflict or persecution.

According to the United Nations Refugee agency, among them are nearly 26.4 million refugees, around half of whom are children under the age of 18.

The scale of this human crisis is hard to wrap my mind around.

I am the daughter of a refugee.

My father spent a total of 3 years searching for safety and 2 years in a refugee camp before coming to the United States and starting the journey of learning a new language and adjusting to a new country.

My father was one of the incredibly lucky ones.

While estimates vary, according to Brookings, the average length of time a refugee is now displaced is between 10 to 26 years.

Some people are born, and die, in refugee camps.

What can we do to support refugees?

NPR’s Simple Steps You Can Take Right Now To Support Afghan Refugees, provides some easy ways to get involved.

Using Business To Make the World A Little Better:
Companies can play a critical role in helping refugees integrate in their new host communities by committing to hiring refugees. Join more than 170 major companies—like Unilever, Starbucks and Chobani—that have committed to supporting refugees through the Tent Partnership for Refugees.

Or, consider how your company can use what it does best to support refugees. For example, Uber and Lyft have donated free transportation for daily tasks, such as trips to the grocery store or job interviews, and Airbnb recently donated $70,000 for temporary bookings.

Site Design Rebecca Pollock
Site Development North Star Sites