World Refugee Day: What we’re doing

20th June 2019

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Did you know that across the world, nearly one person is forcibly displaced from their home every two seconds as they escape conflict or persecution? In the time that it’s taken you to read this article, around 600 people will have been displaced.

Comic Relief believes that every person around the world deserves to have a safe place to call home, but there are currently 68 million forcibly displaced people in the world – the highest number since the Second World War.

After losing everything and fleeing their home, often through no fault of their own, individuals and families are forced to restart – unsure of how they are going to support themselves and their family.

In Rwanda, we fund the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), with our partner Jersey Oversea Aid, to support refugees by helping them to gain some control of their lives and plan for the future. The project is establishing community savings groups in refugee camps across Rwanda. These groups enable communities to save money together and take out small loans. This has become a key component l in helping refugees to rebuild their lives.

Today on World Refugee Day – a day dedicated to raising awareness of the challenges refugees face and their ongoing resilience – we will be sharing stories from women living in Gihembe refugee camp, Rwanda.

Life in the camp can be tough, and residents face many challenges – such as a lack of shelter for a growing population, no electricity in their homes, limited access to water, and a lack of working opportunities.

For refugees living in the camp the introduction of savings groups has created opportunities to save, borrow and overcome some of these challenges by giving them the chance to invest in decisions that have the potential to change their lives. But that’s not all, they’re also giving members the chance to pay for their family’s education, healthcare or unexpected medical emergencies.

Rachel and Speciose, who we met through UNCDF, fled conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and now live in Gihembe. They were introduced to us because they have used savings groups in different ways (some thanks to Plan International) to help rebuild their lives. Our new funding will help more women like this join groups in the very near future.

To hear how Rachel has been able to build her business because of savings groups, head over to Comic Relief’s Twitter account(opens in new window) to learn more over the course of today.

And to hear more about Speciose’s story, keep an eye out on the Comic Relief website where we’ll be sharing more.