(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
By: Candice Malcolm
The world has more refugees today than at any other time in history.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are 66 million people worldwide who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, including 22.5 million refugees and 10 million considered “stateless”.
Over half of all refugees are under the age of 18 and about 55% come from just three countries: South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.
Islamist insurgencies have destabilized countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, tormenting religious minorities and promoting turmoil in the region.
Peace seems out of reach, but one thing is clear: We need a better solution to help the world’s refugees achieve greater levels of freedom and security.
The current strategy isn’t working.
Liberal leaders in the West, particularly in Europe and Canada, have extended generous invitations to resettle refugees into our countries.
Among the results, however, have been chaotic new waves of illegal migration and the continued threat of jihadist terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, 95% of the world’s refugees – often including the most persecuted – are ignored and left to suffer in war-torn communities and make-shift refugee camps.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s grand gesture to resettle 30,000 Syrian refugees was a drop in the bucket when it comes to helping the world’s most vulnerable people.
It may make for a feel-good news story, but behind the scenes, many of these refugees continue to face hardships in Canada.
Refugees also bring their own set of social problems that can weigh heavily on the host community.
We’ve heard sad stories of refugees living in budget motels for months in isolation, without communication or instructions from the federal government.
Schools, hospitals, food banks, languages courses and refugee resettlement agencies are left overwhelmed and under-funded.
Bringing refugees halfway around the world — where they have no extended family, limited job prospects and face significant language and culture barriers — can do more harm than good.
These resettlement initiatives neglect most refugees and do little to address the underlying issues that create them.
We need to rethink our approach to helping refugees.
Rather than focusing more resources on helping a limited number of refugees here, we should seek better ways to help and support the broader community of refugees in the regions they live.
We should think about new ways to empower individuals and promote leadership within refugee communities.
One such initiative comes through the Pin Project, an independent, non-government campaign that generates direct and immediate income for refugees.
It’s simple, you buy a pin (for $32), designed by award-winning Canadian jewelry designer Jenny Bird, and it’s produced by a refugee in a village or camp.
Not only does this create meaningful work for refugees, it also helps them gain confidence and build important life skills.
Unlike offering a handout to refugees, this project gives refugees a hand up to help themselves.
Earning an income allows...(READ MORE)
Learn more about it by visiting www.thepinproject.co