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 Saturday is World Refugee Day (20 June), an event which 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 II. The United Nations estimates that a record 70.8 million people, including 25.9 million refugees and 3.5 million asylum seekers, have now been forced to flee their homes. Over half of refugees come from just three places: South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria.
Developing countries are the most affected by the crisis. Turkey hosts the most refugees, followed by Pakistan, Uganda, and Sudan.
What will you do to help refugees this week?
Read Our Stories
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.
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.
The Pope, the Good Samaritan and the refugees
Pope Francis has rescued 12 refugees from the Greek island of Lesbos, offering them a home at the Vatican. He has been called a ‘saviour’ and a ‘Good Samaritan’ -- but is it an empty gesture?
A teenage asylum seeker from Saudi Arabia says she wants to use her newfound freedom to help others in this moving interview. What can we learn from her story?
- Without using a dictionary, write a definition of the following words: refugee, asylum seeker, migrant, persecution, displaced. Then check to see if you were right.
- Find out more about one of the countries mentioned in the text at the top of this theme. Create a factfile which explains its relationship to refugees.
- Research a famous refugee who overcame their hardship, and achieved great things. Give a short presentation explaining their success.