Posted by Jane Best
There was a lot about refugees in the media over the weekend in response to World Refugee Day on 20 June.
And there were some very interesting articles.
There is one in particular that I would like to draw your attention to on the Guardian website: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jun/20/refugee-myths-uganda-economy-research?CMP=fb_gu
The article highlights various misunderstandings about refugees and says “Current approaches often fail to recognise that refugees have skills, talents and aspirations.” This struck a chord with me because this is the thinking behind RIJ and how we select projects to fund. Evidence shows us that refugee communities do not have to be reliant on international aid; that given the opportunity refugees can create their own market economy and make valuable contributions to society. RIJ funding aims to provide sustainable solutions to avoid dependency and allowing people to live with dignity.
Refugees are not a separate race of people but people like us who want to live normal lives. Due to the circumstances they have been forced to live in, they become resourceful, inventive and develop a strong work ethic. Many go on to prominent positions in society and business.
The article says: “The key to this is helping refugees to help themselves. Refugees are not just passive victims. While many are in need of protection and assistance, it is important to recognise that they have capacities as well as vulnerabilities.”
There is much more I could highlight, but I suggest you read the article for yourself.