World Refugee Day is June 20th. It is a day to focus not only on the 15.2 million refugees worldwide who flee war, disease, and persecution, also a time to commend those organizations whose mission is to aid them.
A number of Odyssey Networks member groups are working to help refugees both in their own communities and internationally.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
The LIRS is an organization that helps refugee populations from around the world, such as Iraqis, Somalis, and Burmese. They combine the efforts of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. LIRS has helped more than 372,000 refugees immigrate to the United States since its founding in 1939.
The UUA’s Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigration Services and Education (UURISE) organization offers immigration counseling, in addition to resettlement services and legal representation. They assist immigrants who are marginalized in their communities.
Church World Service describes themselves as an organization who has been “working with refugees since 1946 when we resettled those emerging from destroyed European countries in the days just after World War II. We are reaching out to help forcibly displaced people – first, to survive, and when possible, to thrive – wherever on earth becomes their home.”
The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) “works with the Office of Immigration Issues located in the Office of the General Assembly and the Immigration and Refugee Program of Church World Service (CWS/IRP) to fulfill this mandate and to show hospitality to strangers — that is, to immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other uprooted people in the United States and around the world.”