Girls Education in Turkey
The Turkish education system is not much different from that of the U.S; the state governs education, which is mandatory for 12 years and is free. Students may choose to pursue further education at university with more than 70 universities in Turkey to choose from. However, despite how similar it may appear on the surface, girls education in Turkey is still unequal to their male counterparts.

10 Facts About Girls Education in Turkey

  1. Education is currently the biggest item on Turkey’s government budget. The Turkish Statistical Agency reports that direct and indirect expenses on education have increased by 54 percent between 2011 and 2014 sitting at 113.6 billion liras ($31.4 billion). Of note, education spending as part of Turkey’s overall budget increased by one-third from 8.5 percent to 12.4 percent.
  2. While the female literacy rate has risen to 93.56 percent and the male literacy rate is 98.78 percent, it is not an accurate percentage of the girls throughout Turkey. About 45 percent of girls 15 and under remain illiterate in the country’s eastern and southeastern regions and women account for two-thirds of adults without basic literacy skills.
  3. Sixteen million girls in Turkey will never set foot in a classroom for a multitude of reasons such as poverty, geographical information, pregnancy, gender-based violence and traditional attitudes of the role of a woman.
  4. The lack of a push for girlseducation in Turkey has led to a consistent number of only 39 percent of women being in the labor force for almost three decades. Girls’ families consistently discourage them from continuing school and the girls receive pressure to become homemakers. With little support in their home life, girls follow the life that their parents lead and do not choose to further their education.
  5. Turkey ranks 130 out of 149 on the gender gap index. The gender gap index reports on the gender gap in the economy, education, health and politics. The large gap that Turkey holds in the global index continues to show that women in Turkey face some of the biggest inequalities in the world based on a multitude of measurements.
  6. Since 2009, the male to female enrollment ratio for universities in Turkey increased from 12 percent to 14 percent, and since 2005, graduation rates for college students have increased by 170 percent. While attainment levels remain low, only 18 percent of 25 to 64-year-olds have any higher education so the increase in girls’ higher level education in Turkey remains hopeful.
  7. Fifteen percent of girls under the age of 18 in Turkey enter into forced marriages. Child marriage can be driven by gender inequality, gender norms, poor birth registrations, displacement and violence. When girls become child brides, they are less likely to continue with school and more likely to stay at home and become homemakers.
  8. With the Syrian crisis, the longer refugees are living in poverty, the more likely they are to marry off their daughters to Turkish men. This then leads to girls in Turkey not being able to further their education.
  9. With goal 5 of the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Turkey has committed to eliminating child, early and forced marriages in the next decade. During the 2015 Universal Periodic Review, the government-supported policy recommendations to criminalize child marriage and take legislative and political action to bring an end to this archaic practice. This enhancement in eliminating forced childhood marriages allows for more girls to further their education and have more choices in their life as they go into adulthood.
  10. Turkey’s involvement in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development also includes its aim to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Goal 4 of the agenda includes seven targets including universal primary and secondary education, universal youth literacy and gender equality and inclusion. Turkey’s participation in the agenda is a step forward in the fight to develop girls education in Turkey.

There is a multitude of initiatives in Turkey other than the Turkish government that intends to reduce inequality in the education system. CYDD, a nonprofit fighting for girls’ education in Turkey, has awarded over 100,000 scholarships and created over 50 schools. These 10 facts about girls’ education in Turkey show the issues that are prevalent, but also the ways in which Turkey is addressing them. The initiatives of nonprofits and the government have bettered girls education in Turkey, but Turkey needs other improvements to further bridge the gap.

– Alexia Carvajalino
Photo: Unsplash

Top 10 Facts About Girl’s Education in Jordan
Education is a weapon that can transform lives, especially for the female population. This fact is true for the girls in the small Arab country of Jordan as well.

Sending a girl to school allows her to build confidence and contribute to the country’s economic, social and political development. Although education in Jordan has reached gender parity in 1999, social norms and traditions, along with other factors, block Jordanian girls from fully utilizing their education in the job market. In the article below, top 10 facts about girls education in Jordan are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Girls Education in Jordan

  1. There is no specific gender disparity in Jordanian primary schools. Over 94 percent of girls attend school compared to 95 percent of boys. Girls in rural areas are just as likely as girls in urban areas to attend school.
  2. About 10 percent of girls who are secondary school age (12-17 years old) are not participating in the education system, compared to 15 percent of male youth of the same age. Although the number is in favor of girls, the percentage is not satisfactory and is mainly the consequence of child marriage or low school performance followed by dropout.
  3. Since 14 percent of the country lives below the poverty line, child marriage occurs often among Jordanian girls in order for parents to be relieved of their financial responsibility. Around 13 percent of girls in Jordan marry before turning 18 years of age. Over 86 percent of girls who marry under the age of 18 have only finished their elementary education. The situation is not better for the Syrian refugee girls that are coming to Jordan since 33 percent of them are already married. This significantly decreases their chances of school enrollment.
  4. The Syrian refugee crisis has strongly impacted on education in Jordan. It has created overcrowded classes and increased educational costs for the government. The government strives to improve its educational standards for girls and boys alike despite this setback caused by the humanitarian crisis. UNICEF is partnering with the Ministry of Education to educate refugees and supply classroom furniture and learning materials. Plan international Jordan create safe child-friendly spaces for Jordanian and Syrian refugee children under the age of 5, which increases the chances that they will attend primary school.
  5. Jordan has one of the highest literacy rates for girls in the Middle East, which is a staggering 97.3 percent. However, this educational advancement does not transfer over to the job force. Jordan has one of the world’s lowest rates of women participating in the workforce at 13.2 percent. If a gender gap in Jordan’s workforce continues to exist, the country will experience a reduction in potential GDP growth of 0.5 to 0.9 percent per year.
  6. A good education is no guarantee that the girl will find employment. Thirty percent of women with a university degree or above are unemployed in the country. The percentage of woman that believe there are obstacles to women’s employment is at 76 percent. They consider that these obstacles have a cultural and religious background that pressures women to stay at home, as well as a lack of women’s job opportunities.
  7. There is a large socio-economic gap that exists in Jordan. In 2009, only 16 percent of girls from underprivileged households excelled above level 2 math, compared to 57 percent of girls from wealthier households. Costly private schools that usually offer better education are reserved for the upper class of society.
  8. Jordan’s government is working to support the empowerment of women and girls. It has partnered with the USAID Mission in order to create policy reforms. Together, they have already developed 59 laws and procedures that promote gender equality. USAID also supports the establishment of Jordan’s first women’s caucus in Parliament and has provided 2,343 women with better employment opportunities. The organization also launched its Takamol Project, a five-year program that encourages governments and civil society institutions to address gender equality.
  9. The government seeks to keep girls safe in their learning environment as 59 percent of schools in Jordan have a guard and surrounding fence. Compared to boy’s and mixed schools, girl’s schools have taken security measures more seriously in order to avoid break-ins or vandalism.
  10. Go Girls is a nationwide initiative that exposes girls to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects by leading hands-on training workshops. This organization specifically targets public schools and refugee camps in Jordan who have little access to technology. Launched in 2015, Go Girls has already educated and helped thousands of girls across the country.

Thanks to the joint effort of Jordan government and organizations such as USAID, UNICEF and other nongovernmental organizations educational opportunities in the Jordan are significantly improving.

As can be viewed from the top 10 facts about girls education in Jordan shown above, the education of the girls in the country can be improved, but the main focus in the future should be on ensuring the girls with equal job opportunities after the successful education.

Grace Klein
Photo: Flickr

How to Help RefugeesImagine a situation where a person’s homeland is cannot host that person and their family anymore. The word “home” loses its meaning, and people find themselves forced to find somewhere else to live in. President Roosevelt once said, “Peace, like charity, begins at home.” Unfortunately, many people around the world cannot find peace because they have no home. Refugee crises have been an issue in the world for many years, and it is important to learn how to help refugees, even in the smallest ways.

According to UNHCR, 68.5 million people are forcedly displaced worldwide, and 25.4 million of them have refugee status. A recent example is the Syrian Refugee Crisis; according to the Amnesty International, there are approximately 4 million refugees from Syria that are spread to different countries.

Refugees crises are real problems, and actions must be taken to overcome them as soon as possible. Many different actions can be taken at a governmental level, but individuals can take actions to help refugees as well. 


Individual fundraising and donation is one thing that any individual can contribute to the refugee problem around the globe. There are numerous organizations operating in both international and national scale, and all of them are just a click away.

Various Types of Volunteer Work

Money is not your only source to find an answer to the question of how to help refugees. Many organizations that help refugees are not only open to donations, but also to volunteer work. If a person wishes to dedicate more than their money, they can dedicate their time to refugee-focused organizations to become a helper in the field.

Social mobilization of the refugees is also related to volunteer work. Integration of refugees to the daily lives of the host country is very important, but not easy. Refugees must learn the language of the host country, and people in the host country can contribute by helping to teach refugees the host country’s language. Many NGO’s operate for this purpose, and a person who is willing to help can also speak with the municipality of any region about creating a volunteer group project.

Organizations also allow a person to connect with a refugee in need to host someone to live together with, saving them from refugee camps. Refugees Welcome International is one such organization where a person can take a refugee as a roommate, allowing the refugee freedom from the hard conditions of a refugee camp.

Writing to Refugees

If a person is unable to dedicate time or money to refugee crises, they can contribute by contacting a refugee personally. Knowing that someone cares provides important motivation that keeps hope alive for millions of refugees around the world. Organizations like CARE allow anyone to directly send a personal message to a person in need. The message is simple: “I see you and I care.”

Legal Support

Support for the legal needs of refugees is a way that attorneys can contribute to helping refugee crises. For any attorney who is ready to take action on this issue, volunteer attorney positions are available in different organizations. International Refugee Assistance Project is one example of the many organizations that help provide legal services for refugees. 

There are countless ways for an individual to contribute to helping refugees around the world. When a person takes the first step to help, even if that means spreading awareness of refugee crises, they take the first step in making the world a better place. 

Orçun Doğmazer

Photo: Flickr

TPS for Syrian refugeesThe Syrian refugee crisis has been the world’s largest humanitarian crisis for the past six years. The U.S. government has made a decision to grant temporary protected status (TPS) to 7,000 displaced Syrians. The announcement came on January 31, 2018, which granted 18 months of TPS for Syrian refugees in America.

About 400,000 deaths have resulted from the Syrian conflict since April 2016. Nearly 13.5 million people living in Syria face threats, displacement, hunger, injury and death. 6.1 million people living in Syria are displaced from their homes, and more than 4.8 million have fled the country.

Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have taken in millions of Syrian refugees. The majority of refugees are children, who face malnutrition, forced labor, child marriage, militant drafting, disease and death. A recent survey by U.N. cooperatives shows that children living in Lebanese refugee camps are more vulnerable to forced labor and child marriage than ever before. Syrian refugees in Lebanon live on less than $4 a day.

Jordan, considered one of the United States’ partners in alleviating the Syrian refugee crisis, has recently made breakthroughs to alleviate the dependence of refugees. As part of a compact deal that has increased international aid to Jordan, the country was able to issue more than 88,000 work permits to Syrians, allowing refugees the ability to meet their basic needs. Of the 655,000 Syrian refugees exiled in Jordan, approximately 80 percent of them live outside camps, living below the poverty line on less than $3 a day.

Recognizing the terror that Syrian refugees face by returning to their home country, the U.S. has decided to grant a TPS for Syrian refugees for 18 more months. This decision was directly influenced by the extraordinary conditions surrounding the ongoing armed conflict. The TPS for Syrian refugees only applies to those who have continuously resided in the U.S. since August 1, 2016, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since October 1, 2016. The designation of the TPS for Syrian refugees is subject to be renewed based on conditions in Syria after the 18-month period expires.

This TPS designation comes after years of abuse by Syria’s Assad regime, and extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The crisis in Syria is by far the most tragic humanitarian crisis in the world today.

The U.S. government has spent nearly $6 billion on humanitarian assistance in response to the Syrian conflict. Funding supports the provision of emergency food, medicine, safe drinking water and other relief supplies to conflict-affected people in Syria and neighboring countries. This humanitarian aid comes in the form of cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing. Shelter kits, non-food items, protection services and psychosocial support are provided to those who have been displaced but remain in Syria.

International officials ministering to Syrian refugee camps state that more international aid is needed for humanitarian efforts to lift millions of Syrian refugees out of poverty.

– Alex Galante 

Photo: John Stanmeyer

Syrian Refugee Health CrisisBeginning in 2011, the Syrian Civil War has resulted in an influx of refugees, many of which fled to neighboring countries. Five million Syrians fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and European countries. Approximately six and a half million remain internally displaced within Syria. As a result of war and civilian displacement medical attention and healthcare have started to decline.

Prior to the civil war, Syria had a stable middle class and a relatively high socioeconomic status. Usually, countries of middle-class status tend to face a higher prevalence of non-communicable diseases. such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Unfortunately, due to the war, relocation, crowding and poor sanitation, many of these illnesses remain untreated in Syria.

Syrian Refugee Health Crisis: Left Untreated

Ninety percent of Syrians are affected by non-communicable diseases. Many diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer, are left unaddressed. This is the core of the Syrian refugee health crisis.

In order to access healthcare in host countries, refugees are required to obtain an identification card. Problems arise due to the inability of refugees to acquire the proper documentation. This is mainly due to the ongoing conflict in Syria. Nonetheless, over 500,000 refugees have found asylum in Jordan and a majority has gained the proper documentation for accessing medical treatment. Currently, 145,000 refugees remain without documents in Jordan.

Organizations Working to Address Healthcare Access

Primary care varies greatly based on the administering country and whether or not the patient lives in a camp or settlement. However, organizations are working to supply sufficient medical care for chronic and communicable diseases.

Syrians have received immunizations from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) upon arrival at settlements and camps. Part of the Vaccination Program for the U.S.-bound Refugees is administering select vaccines.

The World Health Organization is also working through partnerships to address nutritional health and raise funds for projects and initiatives. It is also strengthening the disease surveillance system outside refugee camps.

The John Hopkins Center for Refugee and Disaster Reponse

The students and faculty of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health developed a symposium in 2015. Their work focuses on new research initiatives that propose solutions to the Syrian refugee health crisis.

The school’s Center for Refugee and Disaster Response is assessing Syrians’ basic needs regarding food, medicine and daily living items to provide data for assistance programs. This program also looks into the effectiveness of cash-based food programs for families suffering from non-communicable diseases.

By assessing the needs of Syrian refugees, government entities and other foundations can better manage the healthcare of people in need. Policies and donations can help address the needs of people seeking asylum to better solve the Syrian refugee health crisis.

– Bronti DeRoche

Photo: Flickr

Refugees in Ireland
The UN believes the world is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. At the end of 2015, 63.5 million refugees had been reported. That means that one out of every 113 people on the planet is a refugee. The tremendous number of people seeking refugee status is partially a result of the Syrian civil war and the long-standing war in Afghanistan. While Italy, Greece and Turkey initially received the most refugees, there are now more people coming to these shores than these countries can be expected to take in. Other European Union (EU) member nations are being asked to resettle some of these refugees. Ireland is one country that has agreed to do so. What is the refugee climate like in Ireland? Discussed below are the leading facts about refugees in Ireland.


Top 10 Facts About Refugees in Ireland


  1. A recent poll revealed that 87 percent of the Irish are sympathetic to Syrian refugees. Despite this, approximately one-third of the citizens are worried about the burden that Syrian refugees could place upon the welfare, education, healthcare and housing systems. One-fourth of the Irish were concerned that Syrian refugees could cost their government too much money.
  2. After countries like Turkey were struggling to accommodate the large influx of refugees safely, the European Commission devised a plan in which other EU member states would begin accepting pre-screened refugees. Ireland was not obligated to participate, but the country volunteered to receive up to 4,000 refugees. As of May 2017, Ireland has taken in 273 refugees.
  3. The top 10 countries of origin for refugees in Ireland are Syria, Pakistan, Albania, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Africa, Iraq, Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A little more than half of the refugees are men; women and children almost equally make up the remainder.
  4. In 2016, Ireland received 2,245 applications for asylum from refugees. The country gave 20.8 percent of these people refugee status.
  5. The country is helping to relieve the crisis in additional ways. Ireland has deployed border patrol to Greece to aid in processing refugees. Ireland has also deployed naval ships to find and save refugees who leave their countries by sea. Often, ships carrying refugees are dangerously overcrowded, and they are sometimes shipwrecked. In 2015, the Irish Navy saved 8,592 refugees from the Mediterranean Sea.
  6. While refugees are awaiting status approval, they are housed by Ireland’s Reception and Integration Agency. Here they live in hostel-like settings. Typically, one family shares one room, and individuals are roomed with other refugees of the same sex. Most rooms have televisions, bathroom quarters are shared and meals are served on-site at specific times.
  7. Those awaiting refugee status in Ireland are not authorized to work, so the Irish government provides them with living stipends. Each adult receives €19.10 per week, and each child receives €15.60. This allowance is to cover any extra living expenses such as cell phones, internet service, clothes and toiletries.
  8. Primary and secondary education are provided for children awaiting refugee status. To attend a university they must pay the non-EU resident tuition fees, ranging from €9,750 for a business degree to €52,000 for a pre-medical degree. According to the Irish Refugee Council, this is usually unaffordable for a child seeking refugee status, whether or not they have support from their parents.
  9. On average, refugees in Ireland spend three to four years awaiting refugee status. Some have lived with the Reception and Integration Agency for 10 years.
  10. Each refugee in Ireland has his or her own story. George Labbad came to Ireland as a teenager from Aleppo, Syria in 2001 to learn English. Labbad eventually returned to Syria to attend a university, so he could take over the restaurant his family had owned for more than 30 years. After the Syrian civil war erupted, Labbad’s family was forced to close their restaurant, which had employed nearly 180 people. Eventually, all of Labbad’s family gained refugee status in Ireland. Labbad laments some, missing his home and the future he planned for, but he has made connections in Ireland and sees the country as his new home. Ireland is his future now.

With each refugee having a unique story, 10 facts about refugees in Ireland cannot begin to sum them all up. Some have left a family in their country of origin, while others have left loved ones in new EU countries. All the same, refugees remember what their homeland was to them while resettling in places like Ireland.

Mary Katherine Crowley

Photo: Flickr

Syrian Psychologists
Throughout the Syrian refugee crisis, physical care for refugees, such as the provision of medical attention, housing, and sustenance, has been a crucial concern. Mental health, however, is another facet that must be addressed. In response, two Syrian psychologists have made the mental health of Syrian refugees their concern.

In 2013, psychiatrists Andres Barkil-Oteo and Hussam Jefee-Bahloul met at Yale University, according to Huffington Post. They quickly discovered they had many of the same interests — one of which being the desire to find a way to utilize their mental health expertise to aid Syrians and Syrian refugees.

Although the two had left their homeland of Syria for psychiatry training in the U.S. before the major uprising in 2011, they still felt very connected to the crisis and wanted to find a way to help from abroad.

In 2014, the two friends worked together to create the Syrian Telemental Health Network, an online platform allowing experts and specialists around the world to train and assist mental health workers treating Syrians. The primary purpose of this platform is to address the rise of mental health problems among Syrians and the difficulties Syrian mental health workers are facing in treating them, both of which are repercussions of the Syrian war.

The remote network allows mental health workers in Syria to upload case information as well as video and audio recordings of patients to seek direction and help from specialists worldwide. Typically, this U.K.-based network sees about 10 to 15 cases each month. Because of the platform, knowledge from resources worldwide is brought to Syrian mental health workers, which is pertinent since mental health care has been in short supply within Syria.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), even before the conflict broke out, there were a mere 70 psychiatrists in Syria serving 21 million people. Only two public psychiatric hospitals existed: one at Damascus that now operates at partial capacity because of security concerns and one in Aleppo that is now closed.

While the Syrian Telemental Health Network has aided many Syrian mental health workers and refugees, there are still many more Syrians facing mental health disorders in need of treatment despite limited resources.

In a recent article by CCTV America, it is reported that WHO estimates approximately 600,000 Syrians are currently suffering from severe mental health disorders while an additional 4 million are suffering from mild to moderate mental health disorders.

These two Syrian psychologists remain dedicated to their mission and are currently seeking out more funding to put more resources into the platform to increase the numbers of mental health workers and victims being helped.

Since leaving Yale University, Jefee-Bahloul became an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts and Barkil-Oteo joined Doctors Without Borders to provide psychiatric care to refugees in Greece.

– Alex Fidler

Photo: Flickr

World Bank Group President
On September 24, 2016, it was announced that World Bank Group’s President Jim Yong Kim had been selected for a second term. Starting July 2017, Kim will continue leading The World Bank’s ongoing efforts to alleviate global poverty.

Founded in 1944, The World Bank began as an institution facilitating post-war reconstruction and development. At that time, The World Bank took on infrastructure projects to physically rebuild communities. Today, however, the organization has expanded its work to include myriad social projects.

Now, the multifaceted institution is comprised of economists, experts in public policy, social scientists and sector experts and has a portfolio of projects in agriculture, health, education and other areas of the social sector. Although reconstruction is still a focus, the group’s overlying goal is to reduce global poverty through sustainable and inclusive global prosperity.

When Jim Yong Kim, a South Korean-American physician and anthropologist, was originally elected to the presidency in 2012, The World Bank had set two bold goals: to eradicate global poverty by 2030 and to promote shared prosperity by boosting the income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population in every developing country.

During his first term, Kim brought more structure, accountability and focus to The World Bank with clearer policies and targets, and efforts to meet those targets have been successful. Some of his greatest accomplishments came from dispersing the bank’s power and reallocating large amounts of its resources to combating climate change, addressing the Syrian refugee crisis and undertaking other initiatives that have not traditionally been within The World Bank’s scope.

He also gained much praise for his leadership in the Ebola outbreak, during which he allocated $400 million to combat the deadly virus in West Africa. Additionally, he implored the rest of the international community to invest in containing Ebola, even criticizing the World Health Organization (WHO) for its lax response.

The World Bank Group president also made a number of allies during his term, according to Africa News. When he voiced his intention to run for a second term, he gained endorsements from many countries, including South Korea, the Netherlands, Kenya, Rwanda, Togo and others.

Recognized worldwide for his invaluable experience and accomplishments prior to his election in 2012, Kim worked as an advisor to the director-general of WHO. He later rose to the position of director in WHO’s renowned HIV/AIDS department.

As he finishes his first term and looks forward to his second, one of Kim’s main focuses is making more progress toward the goal of eradicating global poverty by 2030.

-Alex Fidler

Photo: Flickr

Ten Facts about Refugees in the Philippines
The islands of the Philippines have been in the news for their responses to the recent Syrian refugee crisis. A chain of approximately 7,500 islands located in Southeastern Asia, these lands are home to a vast biodiversity and many active volcanoes. The country has been in the public eye lately for its increasing amount of violence related to the government’s war on drugs. Victims included an innocent five-year-old girl, prompting outrage online as to why the government isn’t doing more to protect its citizens.

Below are 10 facts recovered in relation to refugees in the Philipines:

  1. The Philippines has a long history of resettling displaced refugees into their country, stretching back to the 1940’s when Manuel Quezon, then Commonwealth president, personally welcomed 40 Jewish refugees to the country in light of growing dissent in Europe toward practicing Jews.
  2. UNHCR has been operating in the Philippines for over 30 years. They help refugees acquire citizenship in the Philippines as well as help process claims for asylum.
  3. As of August 2015, UNHCR Philippines’ offices have reached over 20,000 displaced persons with relief items.
  4. UNHCR Philippines had only received 8 percent of their requested funding to help refugees in the Philippines, thereby limiting the number of people they could successfully reach with relief items. Lack of funding for refugee support is a major issue.
  5. In 2012, the Philippines became the first Southeast Asian country to sign and become a state-party to the 1954 Convention on Stateless Persons. This 1954 Convention ensures that stateless people, defined as someone who is “not recognized as a national by any state under the operation of its law,” have a basic standard of human rights given to them by their host country. The 1954 Convention also established minimum standards for the treatment of stateless people, including, but not limited to, their rights of access to education, employment, housing, identity, travel documents and administrative assistance.
  6. Other notable refugee groups that were accepted as refugees in the Philippines throughout the years include Spanish Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, Chinese refugees when Imperial Japan was invading their country, White Russian refugees when the USSR rose to power and Indochinese refugees following the Vietnam War.
  7. In October 2015, the Filipino government seriously considered not allowing Australian-processed refugees to come to the Philippines to live.
  8. President Benigno Aquino mentioned that following the Vietnam War, the 400,000 Indochinese refugees that the Philippines accepted for “temporary” placement had, fifteen years on, neglected to leave their “temporary” home and had in fact become permanent residents.
  9. Aquino argued that as a nation, the Philippines couldn’t afford to offer permanent residency to refugees coming from Australia; 25 percent of the Philippines population already lives in poverty, and adding more disenfranchised refugees to the population would not immediately help.
  10. On the flip side, the recent Syrian refugee crisis prompted quick response from the Philippines government, stating they would gladly be a host country for Syrian refugees awaiting permanent resettlement in another country.

The key word for the Philippines government’s current refugee policies seems to be host. Their priorities lie with establishing a stable economy and prosperous nation, in which 25 percent of the population does not have to live in poverty. Then and only then can the Philippines consider being more than a temporary host to refugees. Without economic stability and a lower poverty rate, the Philippines government cannot hope to provide for refugees much more than what the refugees escaped from.

Bayley McComb

Photo: Flickr

Ways to Host Refugees America
Increased media coverage of the global refugee crisis has prompted waves of humanitarian support and local activism across the world. Iceland made headlines when 10,000 of its citizens volunteered to house personally refugees coming from Syria, and others have followed suit in finding ways to host refugees, from Berlin to Birmingham.

Wondering about ways to host refugees in your home? Not everyone can personally provide housing, but below are three simple ways to get started in the effort to welcome refugees to America.


3 Ways to Host Refugees in America


  1. Become aware of local need. It’s easier than ever to become connected to relief and charitable organizations near you. Some of the largest and most wide-reaching of resettlement agencies in the United States are the International Rescue Committee and Catholic Community Services, both of which organize humanitarian aid in over 100 U.S. cities.Spend some time reaching out to charitable organizations in your area to find out what their current needs are, who their clients are, and what types of schools, health or religious organizations work with them.
  2. Consider temporarily housing a refugee. Although refugees admitted to the United States for resettlement are usually quickly connected with local relief agencies, refugees are often vulnerable to unstable housing conditions or even homelessness. Several U.S. and international agencies are searching for individuals and families with extra rooms that they are willing to use to host recently arrived refugees, especially those in crisis or extreme circumstances.Connect with Room for Refugees, which specializes in providing safe temporary housing for refugees living in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and Canada. The chance to personally share your home with a refugee can be immensely rewarding, and provide desperately needed help for those adjusting to life in a new place.Looking for ways to host refugees in your home?Search for organizations like the Karam Foundation, a non-profit group providing aid for Syrians, which is currently seeking to help new refugees find housing with Americans of Syrian descent.Many private non-profit organizations are seeking to connect refugees with a variety of services for temporary housing, and your opportunity to help could be as close as your front door.
  3. Consider ways to host refugees by connecting them with neighbors. Becoming a friend and neighbor to refugees struggling to resettle may be the most powerful way to combat hateful rhetoric, both in the U.S. and abroad.Agencies like the International Rescue Committee, among others, place a high priority on helping refugee families find friends, neighbors and support structures within their new communities. When the 2015 cap for U.S. resettlement of refugees was raised to 85,000 from 70,000, it prompted waves of polarization and xenophobia across the country.A Pew Research Center survey even showed that a majority of Americans disapprove of helping to resettle more Syrians within our borders. The International Rescue Committee, along with other agencies, regularly recruit home mentors for refugee families, providing you with the opportunity to welcome your new friends into your home, or you into theirs, as you solidify a new friendship.

    Other aid agencies are in constant need of home tutors, both for students struggling to adjust to life in American public schools, as well as adults returning to school or learning English as a second language.

    While in-kind and monetary donations of food, clothing, furniture and supplies can help a refugee family build a home, the chance to be a family mentor, tutor or friend may do more to help refugees feel like they belong.

The U.S. admits record numbers of refugees, but schools and government agencies still struggle to help refugees feel at home and safe. Helping to find ways to host refugees and opening your home, either literally or otherwise, is a critical opportunity to be part of solving the world’s worst refugee crisis in 70 years. More importantly, it’s a chance to help your neighbors know that they belong.

Eliza Campbell

Photo: U.N. Multimedia