In the time it will take you to read this sentence from start to finish, four people will be displaced from their homes due to conflict or persecution.
Does this figure surprise you? Since 2011, 6.3 million people have been displaced from Syria alone – perhaps the worst refugee crisis since World War II.
What do we do when so many women, men, and children flee their homes in desperation and come to our doorstep?
To many in the Western world, the refugee crisis is either a problem to solve or a cause for quarantine. Instead of discussing refugees in terms of their skills and assets, the conversation in the U.S. has largely centered around the rising "radical Islamist threat" they pose. Populist parties swept into power across Europe because refugees are perceived to wear down welfare systems and chip away at European values and ideals.
Rather than building walls and layering simple solutions onto complex problems, it falls on us to reframe the way we respond to refugees and to forge a new way forward, helping people to rebuild their lives and their homes, their hopes and their dreams.
World Refugee Day offers us a time to reflect on the plight of displaced people around the world, and the opportunity to challenge our preconceived notions about these groups.
This year, we spoke with THNKers working with refugees in seven countries to collect stories and nuggets of wisdom garnered from their lives and their work. Read on to discover their insightful dispatches from the frontlines of the refugee crisis.