Each year on June 20, humanitarian relief workers along with The United Nations, try to direct global attention on the plight of externally and internally displaced people during World Refugee Day.
This year, the U.N. reports that a record 800,000 people were forced to flee across national borders during 2011. It's the highest number since the year 2000. Overall, 4.3 million people were displaced last year. Their needs are overwhelming and they place added pressures on overextended international relief agencies that are suffering budgetary cutbacks because of the global economic downturn.
In a video message to mark the day, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie said, "“Unfortunately, the world is producing displaced people faster than it is producing solutions to displacement. And the solutions are not exclusively humanitarian – they are also political.”
Christians can try to make a difference by voting empathetic politicians into office, but perhaps the best course of action is to pray and ask God how he wants you--not just others--to help.
If we sincerely seek His guidance, I'm confident God will direct some to go and help in person. Others may be asked to give of their treasure.
When I travel internationally, I often witness the efforts of various relief agencies. Many larger organizations like Operation Blessing, Samaritan's Purse and Medecins Sans Frontieres
Among them is the Montana based, Vision Beyond Borders. They're working hard to help Karen refugees from Burma.
They recently produced this documentary about their work with the Karen. Take a look. It's hosted by actor Kirk Cameron:
The Karen: Forgotten but not Forsaken from Suzanne Smith on Vimeo.