CWS is zeroing in on World Refugee Day today to appeal for relief work funding in some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian situations.
CWS National Director Pauline McKay says that although the level of humanitarian need is unprecedented, and widely acknowledged, that has not resulted in action to stop the conflicts forcing people from their homelands or to ensure the global community provides for the immediate safety and care of displaced people.
"More help is urgently needed" she says.
Anglican churches have the opportunity to mark Refugee Sunday next Sunday 1 July, while Methodist and Presbyterian churches have Refugee Sunday on their calendars for this weekend, 23 June.
CWS has produced worship resources for 1 July for Anglican churches, which include an introduction with background on the theme, intercessory prayers and themed reflections on lectionary readings, plus links to more information and videos online.
Church communities are encouraged to organise an offering for displaced people and refugees, which Christian World Service can direct to partner organisations working with refugees from Syria, South Sudan, Myanmar(Rohingya) or Gaza. Funds from this year’s World Refugee Day appeal will also go towards holding back the drivers of displacement.
The latest United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) figures report that 68.5 million people had fled their homes in 2017, up from 65.6 million in 2016.
A record 25.4 million people registered as refugees in 2017. Of those, 85% found shelter in nearby developing countries where they struggle to meet daily needs with very limited support from the global community.
The UNHCR appeal to assist the largest population of refugees from Syria (6.3 million) is only 17% funded this year. 40 million more are displaced within their own country.
New Zealand churches have helped resettle refugees and funded relief efforts for more than seventy years, and CWS has strongly supported the ‘increase the quota’ movement that calls for more refugees to be resettled in New Zealand.
Last year the annual quota was increased from 750 to 1,000, and the current government plans to increase it to 1,500.
CWS is grateful to participants in this year’s Operation Refugee who are living on refugee rations for a week to raise funds that will help Syrian refugees with food, education and medical care.
Most complete the refugee rations challenge today, but supporters are welcome to join the challenge or donate toward participants' totals until the end of July.
Donations can be made online, by direct deposit, by phone: 0800 74 73 72 or by post to: CWS, PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140.
CWS is a member of ACT Alliance a global coalition of 146 churches and church-related organisations working together on humanitarian, development and advocacy in over 100 countries.