Making a Difference through Refugee Resettlement

Refugees are people who have been denied the chance to live a "normal" life. Things in their lives have gotten so bad that they have felt forced to leave their own country. In many cases staying alive actually depends on fleeing their home, possibly their family, and everything they've ever known.

Most refugees are good people, willing to do anything they can to establish normalcy in their lives. If they can escape the persecution, and threat of persecution, they can develop into contributing members of society. Yet, while they maintain refugee status in the overburdened countries they have fled to, there is little opportunity. They are often confined to small areas and have limited access to basic goods and services. Therefore, when another country steps in to resettle a refugee or refugee family, a problem is reduced. Anxiety is diminished. A step is taken toward peace. Poverty, hunger, and disease are lessened. With every refugee that can find a new home, the world becomes a slightly better place.

So, this all sounds really good in theory, but ultimately the decision to resettle refugees doesn't end with governments. It ends with people. Ultimately, it comes down to your decision to help out. Refugees come from all over the world. We can't just bring them to the front door of our own country and expect them to fit right in. They need help. They need to understand our country, our society, our customs, our cultural idiosyncrasies. They need to know all the things we learned as we grew from children into adults. They need to understand how to live in a manner that allows them to belong. Someone has to teach these things and help newly arrived refugees navigate our world.

With so many charities calling out with needs, should you consider refugee resettlement? To answer this you should look at your personal reasons why you might want to help. It may be that you have a grand vision for the world and you want to be an advocate for world peace or fight to alleviate hunger and poverty. Or, your reasons may be much more personal. Perhaps you simply want to learn about a different culture without leaving the comfort of home. Instead of traveling the world, you'd rather bring the world to you. Maybe you want a good excuse to learn a new language. Maybe you like to teach. Maybe you think that doing something good will make a difference and feel good too. Maybe you're driven by logic and have concluded that helping refugees is just the right thing to do. Maybe you just have an intense love for other people. Maybe you've experienced a spiritual calling.

With few exceptions, it doesn't really matter what your personal motivations are, but it is important that you have reasons to persist. While refugee resettlement is rewarding, it is not always easy. Having concrete reasons why you want to resettle refugees, along with a long-term vision of a positive outcome, can help you get through the challenges. Developing those reasons into a passion to serve will carry you through the entire process and give you confidence that you can make a difference in our world today.

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