Q: What do Regina Spektor, Albert Einstein and Jesus have in common?
A: They were all refugees. Regina Spektor fled Soviet Russia when she was nine; Einstein settled in the US to escape Nazi Germany, and the Bible tells how Jesus was taken as a baby to Egypt to evade the murderous King Herod.
A refugee is someone who has left their country to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.
This week, the UK is celebrating Refugee Week, which coincides with World Refugee Day on Thursday (20 June). The event encourages people around the world to engage with the refugee community; to combat negative stereotypes about refugees and asylum seekers, and to celebrate the skills and creativity that refugees take to their new countries.
The world is currently experiencing the biggest refugee crisis since World War Two. The United Nations (UN) estimates that a record 68.5 million people, including 25.4 million refugees, have now been forced to flee their homes. Most of these (85%) are living in developing countries, and over half of refugees come from just three places: South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.
How will you get involved in Refugee Week?
Read Our Stories
The rescue boat at the heart of Europe’s crisis
Whose responsibility are refugees? As World Refugee Day approaches, ships carrying 630 migrants have finally docked in Spain. The EU spent a week arguing about where they should end up.
There are 68.5 million “forcibly displaced people” worldwide, including 25.4 million refugees — the highest numbers in history. Who are the world’s refugees? And where do they flee to?
Asylum hope for Saudi teenager who fled death
An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family at the weekend is in hiding in Thailand pleading for asylum. She fears that her father and brother may kill her for renouncing Islam.
Explore refugee crisis points around the world in this slideshow of 12 pictures.
- Without using a dictionary, write your own definition of the following words: refugee, asylum seeker, migrant, persecution, displaced.
- Research a famous refugee who overcame their hardship, and achieved great things. Give a short presentation explaining their success.
- Imagine you’re forced to leave your home today due to war or natural disaster. Write a diary entry describing your feelings, and your hopes for the future. What object will you pack for your new life?