A few short weeks ago, I visited the home of a single mother to three boys. She sat quietly next to me and we tried to nonverbally communicate through a series of smiles, nervous laughter and gestures. She reminded me of other mothers; strong, caring and loving. The difference between this mother and other mothers I know is that she led her children out of Syria to safety in Lebanon after her husband was killed. Her children have witnessed war, death and destruction, but life must go on for this family. With no home to call their own; they are stateless.
They are refugees.
My new friend and her family join 65.3 million other individuals who have been displaced from their homes due to war, conflict or climate change. Nearly 1 in every 100 persons around the world are displaced from their homes and, on average, people remain displaced from their homes for 17 years. For my friend, this means she must plan a new future for her children: one that will occur outside the comfort of her own home.
Today, and everyday, we celebrate my new friend and the millions of other refugees around the world who are learning new languages, navigating differences in cultures and dreaming new futures for their children. We lift up their courage and strength, and trade fear for kindness.