There are more than ten million refugees in the world. What can just one person do?
Imagine what the impact would be if
everyone in your family DID ONE THING,
if everyone at your workplace DID ONE THING,
if every member of your congregation DID ONE THING,
if everyone on your block DID ONE THING,
if all of your Facebook friends DID ONE THING,
and if everyone at your school DID ONE THING...
Collectively, we can make a difference if we each would DO ONE THING.
RefugeeOne is encouraging everyone to DO ONE THING to positively impact refugees beginning new lives in the U.S. Donate through GlobalGiving on October 23 to have your financial contribution matched at 30%. Tell your friends, family and co-workers to DO ONE THING.
When many of us DO ONE THING, the impact is huge.
Sein Martin is a refugee who has relentlessly overcome one hardship after another for nearly a quarter century. Born in a small town in Burma, Sein faced ethnic persecution from a young age. As members of the Karen group, one of several ethnic groups seeking greater autonomy in the country, Sein and his family were subject to targeted government prosecution. He and his parents survived by keeping lights out at night and hiding in underground holes. When he was two years old, Sein and his family endured a two-day journey to Sho Klo refugee camp in Thailand, bordering Burma. Ten years later, violent fights caused Sho Klo refugee camp to shut down and for its refugees such as Sein and his family, to relocate to another Thai camp bordering Burma, Mae La Camp.
The current count of Burmese refugees in Thailand is estimated at nearly 62,000 and it is considered one of the most protracted displacement situations in the world. Nevertheless, these camps offer refugees critical support: food, aid and, most importantly, protection against arrest, detention and deportation. Outside of the camp’s protection, Sein recounts that “whenever police were in sight, we’d immediately hide and run. We never had the freedom to go outside. We were like animals in the zoo.” Unfortunately, the camp left much to be desired, as refugees residing there lived in cramped, makeshift conditions with limited access to jobs and education.
In spite of the barriers, Sein was determined to make the best of his situation and worked hard to complete his high school education and a year of college education. Afterwards, he pursued medical training at Opian Refugee Camp, and then returned to Mae La Camp for an internship. Though Sein had completed his coursework, securing employment was challenging as Sein struggled to meet arbitrary hiring standards. He faced opposition from hiring managers, was required to retake medic training courses, and he waited for long periods of time to retake tests.
However, Sein persevered in his search to find employment. By the time he found work, Sein was 21 years old with the responsibility to support not only himself, but his wife and one-year-old daughter. His new salary was still not enough to support his family.
After 13 months of working as a medic at the camp, Sein applied to come to the United States with great hopes of achieving the personal and financial freedom he desired. Three years later, in November of 2012, his dream came true. “I love the freedom in this new country!” Sein exclaims. “No more police chasing me. I feel accepted.”
Sein found employment June 2013 as a dishwasher at a local Chicago restaurant. His wife, daughter and infant son remain in Thailand, awaiting the legal proceedings necessary to join Sein. “I will be happy when my family is here with me,” Sein says.
As a reminder that each of us can make a difference, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees established World Refugee Day in 2001. Each year, June 20 serves as a reminder that many around the world are forced to flee their homes under threat of war, terror and persecution. But it also serves as a reminder that, collectively, we can make a difference if we each DO ONE THING.
During the month of June, organizations and groups around the globe mark the month of June with special opportunities to make a difference in the lives of refugees. RefugeeOne is encouraging everyone to DO ONE THING to positively impact refugees beginning new lives in the U.S. Donate through GlobalGiving on June 12 to have your financial contribution matched at 50%. Contribute a household item on our collection list so that we can set up apartments for newly arriving refugee families. Attend our housewarming event to prepare for a refugee family. Tell your friends, family and co-workers to DO ONE THING. When many DO ONE THING, the impact is huge.
Find out more about DOING ONE THING during the month of June in honor of World Refugee Day by visiting our website at: http://www.refugeeone.org/do1thing.html.