#Do1Thing: Hope for refugees begins with you

09 January 2018

Mr. Atef, Syrian refugee and PE teacher, with his students at the JRS school in Baalbek
Mr. Atef, a refugee from Homs, Syria, is a PE teacher at a JRS school in Baalbek. (Kristóf Hölvényi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Rome, 9 January 2018 – We hear the words “refugee crisis” all the time, and the sheer magnitude of the current situation – more than 65 million people forced to leave their homes to seek safety, with 22.5 million of them having had to flee their countries – can leave us feeling powerless and frustrated. Whose responsibility is it to solve the “refugee crisis”? Can anything be done? Whom should I blame for the situation?

The real crisis, however, is not a “refugee crisis”, but a crisis of solidarity, or what Pope Francis has called “the globalisation of indifference”. The response that is needed is both individual and collective: solidarity is not just an ideal, but is expressed in concrete actions and steps that draw us closer to our neighbours, in whatever situation they find themselves.

Pope Francis encourages each one of us to act: “A single individual is enough for hope to exist. And that individual can be you.” To mark the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on 14 January, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is releasing a campaign, called #Do1Thing, to show what individuals are doing to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate refugees in their communities. The campaign features five videos, each one highlighting the impact that one volunteer can have on the lives of refugees.

These are ordinary people, doing simple things: offering friendship, or helping with a language class. They are not engaged in many great and heroic acts, but often are just offering one thing, one form of support, one day in a week. Often, they just #Do1Thing.

Pope Francis says that if you can bring hope to one person, “then there will be another ‘you’, and another ‘you’, and it turns into an ‘us’…when there is an ‘us’, there begins a revolution.” Please share your own #Do1Thing story, so that others can know that they are not acting alone, but are part of a movement, a revolution of compassion and tenderness.

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