This year, World Refugee Day, which held under the message “Together we can achieve anything”, focuses on the inclusion of forcibly displaced people, because only together we can achieve great results.
Only by working together can we recover from COVID-19 pandemic. We call on communities and governments to include refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) – in health care, education and sport.
Years of forced displacement can take a significant toll on people’s physical and mental health. We work with governments, communities and other partners to provide health services, strengthen local health facilities and include refugees in national health systems and plans.
During the pandemic, refugee doctors, nurses, health-care technicians and volunteers have helped fight COVID-19. People, who were forced to flee their homes have made soap, sewn masks, prepared food for those in need and helped teach their communities about the virus and how to prevent it.
We all benefit when everyone has access to education. We are calling for the creation of scholarships and education opportunities for displaced youth. We also call for greater access to digital education for refugee students.
Education helps people forced to flee build better futures. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency works together with partners to provide displaced children access to quality education. COVID-19 interrupted education for children around the world and made remote classrooms necessary.
Sport is a great way to heal, develop and grow – especially for people fleeing conflict or persecution. We call for greater funding for sports equipment, facilities and training opportunities and for the creation of spaces where forcibly displaced people can play together in safety.
Sport can make a positive difference in the lives of people who were forced to flee their homes. UNHCR uses sport to create safe and protective environments where everyone can discover their potential.
Sport brings people together. For people who were forced to flee home, playing sport with their neighbours or classmates can help them gain confidence, forge new friendships, and feel safe and welcome.
On June 18, UNHCR published its annual UNHCR Global Trends report on forced displacement in the world.
The report shows that by the end of 2020, there were 20.7 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate, 5.7 million Palestinian refugees and 3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad. Another 48 million people were internally displaced within their own countries. A further 4.1 million were asylum-seekers.
Ukraine is home to over 700,000 internally displaced persons and to around 5,000 refugees and asylum seekers. Read more here.
On June 18, the official opening of the photo exhibition took place on Independence Square in Kyiv. The photos tell how new citizens integrate into the community and become equal members of society. The exhibition lasted until June 25.
On June 23, Rokada Charitable Foundation, with the support of UNHCR, held a children’s art event “Drawing our dreams”, dedicated to the celebration of World Refugee Day. In the cozy atmosphere of Desnyansky district’s library, children of refugees, displaced persons and host communities reflected their future dreams on paper together with the artist Kateryna Rudakova.
IDPs, local citizens and local authorities in cooperation with NGO “Proliska” held a flash mob “Together we can achieve anything” in order to draw attention to the projects that were implemented in Luhansk oblast under the auspices of UNHCR in 2015-2021. There are the brightest example of a successful outcome cooperation between UNHCR, local volunteers and local authorities.
“Thank you very much to UNHCR in Luhansk Oblast for your cooperation and support. Together, we have made the crossing of the Stanitsia Luhanska EECP more comfortable, convenient and modern access to social and administrative services for thousands of our citizens. You were one of the first to lend a hand when we needed a prompt respond to the challenges caused by COVID-19 and provide all necessary medical facilities near the contact line,” – said Serhiy Haidai, Head of the Luhansk regional military-civil administration, commenting on the activities of UNHCR in the region.
On June 18, in Irpin, Kyiv oblast, NGO CrimeaSOS organized a screening of the “Burden of Evidence” documentary, which covers the problems of refugees and asylum seekers. During the event, participants had the opportunity to talk about the problems of refugees and internally displaced persons, of whom more than 10,000 people are registered in Irpin alone.
The first open air fair by IDPs “They live and work in Irpin” took place in Neznayka Park in Irpin. The event was organized by “Foundation for Good Deeds” charity organization. About 30 people took part in the event. All of them are IDPs from the East, who in 2014 were forced to leave their homes and move to a new city. Journalists went to find out how the adaptation took place in Irpin, how they were able to open their own businesses and how they live now.
Activists among IDPs and local residents from the NGO “Egida – Center” planted an alley of red roses in the yard of Donetsk State University of Internal Affairs. The rose is a symbol of Donetsk, from which the University moved to Kryvyi Rih. Representatives of active communities were also awarded for their significant contribution to the integration of internally displaced persons.
Activists also created a social video with slogans in support of refugees and IDPs. The video was broadcasted on local TV channels during the week.
On 19-20 June, active internally displaced persons from NGO “Union of Displaced Persons Spilna Sprava” organized an interactive event “Dove of Peace” in the city center, on the European Square, where they held a master class for children on creating a paper doves.
Participants together made and then launched balloons and doves into the sky. The event also included interviews with local residents on dislacement issue. Eventually, a social video was made based on these interviews.
We invite you to watch a video made by Innovatsiyna Diya – a NGO of Vinnytsia IDPs community. This video was made in support of initiatives for World Refugee Day. They prove once again that IDPs are not a burden, but an effective part of the city’s community.
The Druzhba Foundation and Afghan Bakhtar Sunday School, with the support of UNHCR in Ukraine, brought together representatives of different ethnic groups living in Ukraine. Participants performed elements of national dances to the song “Voices” by Tusse.
The performer of the musical composition Tusin Michael Cheese, a participant of Eurovision 2021 from Sweden, as a child went through a difficult refugee journey. He sings, “Can you hear a million voices calling out in the rain? You know, we got a million choices, so go get out and let it rain! ” Despite the rain, they went out and danced to prove to themselves and to the world: we are different, but we are united!
On June 17, NGO “Desiate Kvitnya” organized an “All-Ukrainian Forum with the leaders of the IDP and Refugee Communities to Discuss Non-Conflict Communications” at the Public Media Hub. The purpose of the event was to show diversity, to create a platform for networking, brainstorming, exchange of experiences.
On June 18, NGO “Desiate Kvitnya” organized the Festival of Cultures “Together we shine” dedicated to World Refugee Day.
The festival of cultures was divided into thematic areas. There were lecture halls (“Living Library”, master classes, etc.) and places where people could exchange useful informations (different publications, including ones on regional activities). In addition the Festival included presentation of national costumes, literature, ethnography from representatives of national and cultural communities of the city. Moreover a quiz where everyone was able to learn the traditions of different nationalities and cultures.
In the evening there was a concert, which was attended by Lightning Jeck & The Slackers, vocalists of Astra Voice Studio and representatives of various national communities of the city, whose performances demonstrated the musical preferences of different peoples. The final chord “Druzhe Muzyko”, whose performance was opened by the song “I am Ukrainian” performed by the band’s soloist Max Trubnikov and the representative of the Afghan community Nargis Mohd.
On June 25 the Run With Refugees 2021 marathon took place on the Health Route in Odesa. The event was organized by United Youth Organization with the support of UNHCR and NGO “Desiate Kvitnya”. Participants had the opportunity to choose among three distances: 2 km, 4 km and 6 km.
The main goal of the marathon was to unite young people, regardless of their age, nationality and religion, as well as to build a tolerant society in Ukraine.
On July 10 took place the presentation of the social photo exhibition “Another Life”. This was an exhibition about the life and adaptation of IDPs and refugees in Odesa oblast. There were presented eleven stories, each consisting of five photographs.
The exhibition will last until July 18, 2021 in the Odesa Regional Universal Scientific Library named after M. Hrushevsky.
The event was organized by the NGO “Movement of IDPs I have the right” with the support of UNHCR in Ukraine and the NGO “Desiate Kvitnya”.
On June 21, Svitlychna Central City Library hosted “We are in solidarity” event dedicated to World Refugee Day. The event took place with the participation of the Initiative Group of IDPs Mothers, Doctors of the “Mamochka School” and concerned citizens of Pavlohrad.
The program of the event included planting flowers on the alley in “Dove of Peace” art workshop for children and parents, meeting with the project manager of “Mamochka School”, making a charm bracelet and holding a tea ceremony.
The photo exhibition “Let’s take root: the path of integration” was held at Svitlychna Central City Library from 21 to 26 June.
To mark World Refugee Day, UNHCR’s partner organization NEEKA Ukraine has organized a “Hear Me” tolerance camp in Zakarpattia Oblast. Art therapy, a master class of confectionery from Vanilla bakery, an exhibition of drawings have been organized for children from Ukrainian families, refugees and Roma at risk of statelessness. They are convinced that for art it doesn’t matter what language you speak and what your origin is.
On June 17, as part of the celebration of World Refugee Day in Perechyn, events for the youngest residents of the institution took place at the Temporary Accommodation Center for Refugees in Zakarpattia Oblast. Representatives of the Regional Migration Service, TAC management, social workers and volunteers organized a drawing master class, other children’s games, and sweet treats for the children living in TAC. Representatives of NEEKA and the Fred Charitable Foundation in Ukraine, also presented gifts to the children. Currently, 58 asylum seekers, including 18 children, live in the Temporary Accommodation Center for Refugees in Zakarpattia Oblast. There are 138 refugees and persons in need of complementary protection registered with the Migration Service of the region.
An event “How the potential of Zhytomyr sounds” was held on Mykhailivska Street. It was organized by Iryna Hladka, Head of the NGO “Myr na Dolony”.
The purpose of the event was to draw attention to people who had been forced to leave their homes due to the war and joined Zhytomyr community.
Despite the difficulties, many of IDPs were able to start new projects and implement their own business ideas, become an active part of Zhytomyr community and are ready to help others. The concert took place in the mayor’s office in Zhytomyr. IDP participants took part and demonstrated their talents. IDP children made dance performances, adults sang, and an exhibition of handicrafts and artists was opened to visitors. Also, members of NGO “Myr na Dolony” held a game on social cohesion.
Roma activists and displaced people have brought together the local community to hold a concert in the city on the occasion of World Refugee Day. Students demonstrated their talents and children participated in competitions. Local authorities and activists spoke to residents and shared messages of support and solidarity with refugees and community associations.
Organizer: NGO “CrimeaSOS” and Roma NGO “Ame Roma”
NGO “Desiate Kvitnya” organized a screening of a video about unique stories of refugees, their lives, challenges and dreams. The event was supported by local authorities.
Video-stories of people who were forced to leave their homes due to the war and started a new life in the town of Slobozhanske, Kharkiv oblast. The video was created with the support of UNHCR and NGO “Let’s Act” in support of initiatives for World Refugee Day on June 20.
NGO “CrimeaSOS” and IDP activists together with the Public Library of the Berdychiv City Territorial Community held active events for IDPs and local citizens who want to show that “Together we can achieve anything.” IDP activists drew a symbolic map that brought together Berdychiv and the cities of Donbas and Crimea. Competitions, master classes and games were organized for children.
The meeting of Berdychiv residents on the bank of the Gnylopyat river is a symbolic act of solidarity with internally displaced persons, support for those who have become forcibly displaced. The public library with branches of Berdychiv city territorial community has arranged several locations in the city recreation area, creating a relaxed atmosphere for communication.
A round table “IDPs from Donbas – for Oleksandriya” took place in Oleksandriya. During the round table, Valentyna Chuhuievets, Head of the “Center for Public Activity NGO “Victory” talked about the integration of internally displaced persons in the social and economic processes of the city and their contribution to the community’s life. The event resulted in conclusion of a Resolution with participants’ proposals in it regarding deeper integration of IDPs into the city life. The Resolution will be handed to the city authorities.
On June 19, a concert and exhibition of handicrafts was organized near Svitlovodsk Palace of Culture. Entertainment activities were organized for the children.
UNHCR organized the pleine air painting workshop “Together into the Future” for conflict affected children in the east of Ukraine, during which the children had a chance to paint anything of their choice under the supervision of the tutor, whereas their parents/guardians were able to seek psychological advice for their children. The purpose of this workshop was to give individual memories and voices of children in conflict and mass violence the full place and visibility they deserve.
Sports festivals and tournaments on the occasion of World Refugee Day are becoming a good tradition for the social initiative “Come on, Play” in Ivano-Frankivsk.
On June 30, NGO CrimeaSOS and CF League of Tolerance organized football and floorball competitions in order to show solidarity and support to all those who overcame difficult challenges.
“I am proud of my cooperation with internally displaced people, and I am glad that there is a place for everyone in our sports community, we create a friendly environment and we are always focused on understanding,” said coach Anastasiya Vasylyshyn. “Children know that some of us have a more difficult life, they sincerely want to know more about it and find friends without being guided by social prejudices.”
On June 24, activists and internally displaced persons from the Myrhorod City Society “Mercy and Health” together with the Center for Social Services of the Myrhorod City Council and NGO CrimeaSOS held an event “Second Breath. Seven years later. ” IDPs living in the Myrhorod city territorial community, who were forced to leave their homes and start their lives over in 2014, were invited to the event.
The war changed these people, but did not break them. They use all their knowledge and experience for the benefit of the community now, which has become their second home. Myrhorod City Council Secretary Oleksandr Hurzhiy, who was present at the event, assured that the city authorities had never ignored the problems of IDPs, that they had been ready to help and cooperate, and wished everyone the most important thing – a peaceful sky.
Natalia Pyshchymukha, Deputy Head of the Myrhorod Free Legal Aid Bureau, told about the rights of both refugees and IDPs in case of legal issues. Valentina Dontsova, a member of the NGO “Mercy and Health”, gave a presentation on the Unified IDP Assistance Center, which had worked in Myrhorod under the UNDP auspices in 2015-2017, and the participants shared their success stories.
At the end of the event, the organizers presented a video, dedicated to the World Refugee Day, created, with the support of UNHCR, by “Myrhorod” TV studio about 5 stories of internally displaced persons.