Europe (MNN) — Tensions are flaring in Europe and a new UN report reveals troubling statistics. Ahead of next week’s EU Summit, several nation heads remain bitterly opposed over issues of migration and refugee asylum. Meanwhile, the number of displaced people worldwide has reached a record high; on average, a person was displaced every two seconds in 2017.
Today, on World Refugee Day, we’re highlighting what you can do to help.
“The most important thing for refugees in Europe, but probably also around the world, is they need connection with other people,” says Lucas da Silva, Trans World Radio’s Director of Southern European Ministry. “That’s what makes all the difference for them.
“If they’re really embraced by a community, then they’re able to thrive and not just survive.”
New home, new chaos
According to the UNHCR’s latest count, 68.5 million people were forced to leave their home as a result of persecution, conflict, or generalized violence. Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
In 2014, more than 200,000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. When the crisis first arrived on their shores, da Silva says, “Europe really wasn’t ready for it…many countries didn’t have the infrastructure for it, and they weren’t thinking about the refugee situation.”
As a result, refugees entering Europe encountered a new kind of “chaos.”
“Many refugees just didn’t know where they could go for help,” says da Silva. “They couldn’t connect with the locals; there was no way of [getting information].”
Learning how to Love Europe
As the refugee crisis divided Europe among social and political lines, Christian organizations and individual believers began collaborating. The Love Europe app is the fruit of their collective labor, putting vital information and resources at refugees’ fingertips.
TWR manages media programs on the Love Europe app, providing refugees with biblical, Christ-centered content. Audio programs in Arabic, Farsi, and Dari are designed to help refugees process emotional trauma and find new hope in Christ.
“The goal of this program is to provide refugees with a connection, to show them that they’re not alone, provide them with hope,” da Silva says.
“I think that’s a very biblical idea, the idea of loving your neighbor but also welcoming the stranger. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do with the ‘Love Europe’ app.”