2019 is the year RIJ celebrates its 40th anniversary; 40 years supporting those displaced by conflict around the world.
How much has changed in 40 years for refugees globally? Unfortunately, the number of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has been increasing year by year. Refugees and IDPs are still facing hardships in 2019 and will still need support in the foreseeable future.
RIJ successfully continues to provide support for refugees and IDPs through projects aimed at sustainably increasing people’s wellbeing and allowing them the opportunity to reintegrate in society. This ensures that the beneficiaries can give back to their host communities and, by extension, prove that refugees can make important contributions to local economies.
Projects funded by RIJ have allowed refugees and IDP’s worldwide to take a step towards rebuilding their own futures and lives. Throughout its history, RIJ has provided support in countries like the DRC, Myanmar, Lebanon, Pakistan, Thailand, Nigeria, Jordan and South Africa making RIJ a truly international organization. All funding is made looking beyond cultural, religious and political differences as it is in RIJ’s ethical concern to consider refugees and IDP’s as human beings first. Human beings that have, due to unfortunate and often upsetting circumstances, been forced into difficult situations.
All projects funded by RIJ reflect the core values of the organisation that had held firm since its conception by considering the following questions:
1. Who is empowered by this project
2.Is this project sustainable in the long term?
3.Does it treat beneficiaries equally and fairly?
By adhering to these critical questions, RIJ has been able to reflect on ongoing projects to integrate them to our modus operandi reflecting the core values of the RIJ.
To mark the 40 years anniversary, RIJ organized a Gala evening on March 8th, 2019 entitled Invest in the Future. We know that providing opportunities for refugees is really an Investment for the future and offers long-term solutions to truly challenging problems. The evening was a true display of solidarity and altruism with enthusiastic guests energetically bidding on auction items as well as individual donations being made throughout the night.
We had the opportunity to welcome Vincent Lee as a special guest that evening. Vincent Lee is a former refugee who had to flee the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot in 1970’s Cambodia. Mr. Lee fled the atrocities and became a refugee initially in a camp in Thailand and then moved to Australia. His speech outlined the difficulties of being a refugee and having to integrate in cultures he had no idea of, nor interest in, before violence came to his homeland. Mr Lee’s speech made us reflect on our mission as he explained how he persevered and successfully got through high school and university in Australia where he would also obtain a master’s degree in Finance. His story galvanized the audience as he beautifully summarized the value that refugees can bring to their host societies, far from the negative stereotypes we find sometimes in today’s global political atmosphere.
Refugees are people with dreams, ambitions and talent that often only need a little support to achieve greatness.
RIJ funding ensures refugees can flourish after having been unrooted from their homelands. Their situations widely vary from one country to another, but they have one thing in common: a desire for a normal life.
Investing in the future is one of our driving principles.
Through generous donations and organizing events, RIJ has effectively supported refugees and IDP’s worldwide and is looking forward to many more years of the same.
We thank you for your support and invite new comers to join RIJ and together build a sustainable future for those displaced by conflict all around the world.
By Jean-Charles Zushi Ngumbu.