Live blog: This World Refugee Day, everyone can make a difference

As COVID-19 has shown, solidarity is more important than ever. Join UNHCR today in celebrating refugees' courage and resilience worldwide.

This artwork was created by a Congolese refugee in Kenya for the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, depicting this year's World Refugee Day message of 'Everyone Can Make A Difference. Every Action Counts.'
© UNHCR Kenya

Millions across the African continent are taking part in events celebrating World Refugee Day at a time when global unity has never been more important.


This year, the event is happening at a time of unprecedented forced displacement of 79.5 million people globally. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is asking people from all walks of life to join #WithRefugees and honour the courage, resilience and strength of those who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, persecution and conflict.

Remember, everyone can make a difference and every action counts.

Check back here throughout the day for updates:


In case you missed it:

Sudanese-American slam poet Emi Mahmoud has supported UNHCR’s work since 2016.

Her message ahead of World Refugee Day is one we all need to hear. 'Some things that haven't been stopped by COVID-19: wars, domestic violence, famine, pestilence, displacement – our will to live.'

South Africa

Refugees in South Africa made and distributed 10,000 masks to their neighbours in the townships.

 

Meawhile, the office held a virtual photo exhibit depicting refugees and aid workers in the region. Below are some of the photos that were showcased. 

  • This artwork was created by a Congolese refugee in Kenya for the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, depicting this year's World Refugee Day message of 'Everyone Can Make A Difference. Every Action Counts.'
    This artwork was created by a Congolese refugee in Kenya for the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, depicting this year's World Refugee Day message of 'Everyone Can Make A Difference. Every Action Counts.' © UNHCR Kenya
  • This artwork was created by a Congolese refugee in Kenya for the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, depicting this year's World Refugee Day message of 'Everyone Can Make A Difference. Every Action Counts.'
    This artwork was created by a Congolese refugee in Kenya for the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, depicting this year's World Refugee Day message of 'Everyone Can Make A Difference. Every Action Counts.' © UNHCR Kenya
  • This artwork was created by a Congolese refugee in Kenya for the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, depicting this year's World Refugee Day message of 'Everyone Can Make A Difference. Every Action Counts.'
    This artwork was created by a Congolese refugee in Kenya for the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, depicting this year's World Refugee Day message of 'Everyone Can Make A Difference. Every Action Counts.' © UNHCR Kenya
  • This artwork was created by a Congolese refugee in Kenya for the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, depicting this year's World Refugee Day message of 'Everyone Can Make A Difference. Every Action Counts.'
    This artwork was created by a Congolese refugee in Kenya for the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, depicting this year's World Refugee Day message of 'Everyone Can Make A Difference. Every Action Counts.' © UNHCR Kenya
  • Congolese refugee Kituza, 25, holds one of her dolls outside her house in Maratane refugee camp, Mozambique.
    Congolese refugee Kituza, 25, holds one of her dolls outside her house in Maratane refugee camp, Mozambique. © UNHCR/Hélène Caux

South Sudan

Refugee children in Yambio performed a poem for the day.

 

and these talented dancers in Yei showcased their Nuban culture through dance, to the resounding beat of drums. 

 

Uganda

Our office in Uganda organized an online dialogue via Facebook with refugees and humanitarian workers, to discuss how they are working together to support refugees and their host communities, particulary in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Ethiopia

Refugees across Ethiopia's camps sent hearty World Refugee Day greetings. The country is one of the largest refugee-hosting nations in Africa, with over 763,000 refugees.

 

and our Goodwill Ambassador, Betty G, sent a personal message celebrating refugees who are in the frontline fighting COVID-19. The award-winning singer briefly sang one of her songs as well.

Ghana

Our office in Ghana took to various media channels to shiine a spotlight on matters affecting refugees and asylum seekers in the country.

 

Kenya

The UNHCR office in Kenya organized a virtual event, via Facebook on the eve of the day. The event featured performances from refugees in the capital, Nairobi and the two camps in Dadaab and Kakuma, speeches from government representatives and donors. Goodwill Ambassador Mercy Masika also performed one of her songs. 

 

Meanwhile, refugee artists in Kenya's Kakuma camp released "Believe" – a song that calls for hope and unity in the fight against COVID-19. The song was written and performed by MLay Aza (Burundi), Mercy Akuot (South Sudan)and Queen Lisa (Burundi), with a music video created by Abdul Patient (Burundi) and his creative partner Muhaz.

Each of the artists fled violence in their countries of origin, finding a new home in Kakuma which hosts over 196,000 refugees from over 10 countries. Their collaboration is an inspiring call to unite in the face of a global crisis and to stand together as one.

Greece. Refugees and migrants arrive in Lesvos.

Believe (MLay, Queen Lisa, Mercy Akuot, Young A, Mr. Panadol)

Tanzania

In these challenging times, UNHCR, the Government and partners have continued to stay and deliver lifesaving services to people of concern. Some of our partners came together to share this message of solidarity.

 

Somalia

In the spirit of the Youth with Refugees Art Contest, our office in Kismayo organized an art competition for displaced youths and returnees, to mark World Refugee Day.

 

They also had this lovely performance by popular Somali singer Yurub Genyo.

 

Somaliland

Refugees brought a taste of home to the celebrations, displaying their rich and diverse culture through song and dance.