World Refugee Day 2004: Ecuador
World Refugee Day events this year were held at the premises of Comité Pro Refugiados (CPR). After a moment of prayer when the theme of this year's World Refugees Day was highlighted, children and adults alike were treated to a puppet show by the Colombian troupe, Kaluna, on the culture of the coffee plantations in Colombia.
The puppet show was followed by a lively music show performed by the band, Constelación Vallenata, comprising members who were recently granted refugee status by Ecuador. Adults and children danced to the tropical sounds of traditional Colombian rhythms. T-shirts and bottles of shampoo donated by a cosmetics company were given out.
At night, UNHCR organised a private viewing of "Beyond Borders", a movie starring UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie. 120 people attended the screening, and funds raised were donated to CPR, which will use the money to furnish a room where children can play under the supervision of a social worker while their parents are being interviewed.
In Ibarra, south of the Colombian border, World Refugee Day was celebrated by some 200 people. UNHCR staff improvised a puppet show about the rights and duties of refugees. A group of young refugee and Ecuadorian men and women presented choreographies they had prepared for the event. There were also contests and giveaways where people won T-shirts and other products. The event was organised with help from the Jesuit Refugee Service and Pastoral Migratoria.
World Refugee Day captured the attention of the media nationwide. A newspaper insert was distributed with El Comercio, Ecuador's largest distributed newspaper. Several radio stations also presented interviews and aired radio spots produced by refugee and Ecuadorian teenagers.
In all, close to 800 refugees and asylum seekers, as well as many international organisations, participated in the World Refugee Day events.