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We are presented opportunities everyday to make a difference in the lives of those around us, near or far, through our actions, time, or money. Whether we embrace that opportunity is up to us and, evidently, even the smallest of gestures or actions can veritably snowball into lasting results.
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Now that Syrian newcomers have arrived safely in Canada, they can start building their new lives. As the focus shifts from managing the large number of arrivals to integrating families, particularly youth, we see a critical need for more collaboration, research, and knowledge sharing of best practices in Canada and around the world.
"It makes these girls feel like they have no future, no hope and there's really no point getting an education."
Some mothers feel grateful that they're still alive and at least have their children with them. One mother, who has been raising her children in this tented settlement for the past four years, said she wished they had stayed behind in Syria. She said it would be better to have died than to be living as they are.
Today is World Refugee Day, a date to remember the plight of refugees everywhere. It's an occasion we've marked five times since the conflict in Syria began. We wanted to find a way to give Canadians a new perspective on the situation.
In places like South Sudan, children are battered by the effects of war, long before they step onto the football field. Soccer, sometimes, is the one good thing in their lives. But no amount of football can change the basic facts of their lives.
Children are the most vulnerable in every situation. When a country is torn apart by civil war, shattered by economic collapse or rocked by a major earthquake, children always hurt the most. They also have the most to lose, with their educations incomplete or barely even begun.
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At the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul this week, global leaders, humanitarian agencies and the private sector are coming together in search of sustainable solutions to address urgent humanitarian crises. The fate of millions of children, like those I met, literally hangs in the balance.
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Girls living in poverty across the developing world are also much more likely to be subjected to violence than their brothers. Many believe girls have no business being in school. Many are forced against their will into marriage and intercourse in their teens. Two out of three victims of child trafficking around the world are girls.
A school says to a refugee child, "You have somewhere to go each day. You have someone who believes you can learn and who makes you sit up straight. You have an important job to do with your life and you are worth someone's time to see that you do it."
We are awash in refugees, today, especially with the disaster taking place in Syria. We have limited resources -- human and financial. We must prioritize the needs of all these people; caught in a wor...
We have learned from Bebe that the spirit of female refugees all over the world is unwavering. Every day more than 7.3 million women live and work, regardless of setbacks, to provide for their families. Women, who like all people, want nothing more than to have a better life for themselves and for those they love.
A young woman named Bebe has lived in Dzaleka for more than four years now. A refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she and her husband started a small restaurant not too long ago to try and bring in some income to help support their young daughter.
Globally an estimated 15.2 million individuals have officially been identified as refugees. Of those 15.2 million, 48% are female. That's more than 7.3 million mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives, who by the very definition of 'refugee' are unable to return to their homes for reasons far beyond their control.
There are an estimated 12 million displaced people on the planet at this moment and most of them are children. News of this came around the same time as the controversy surrounding Bill C-31, and the way the Harper government wants to crack down on immigration and refugees. But this World Refugee Day, let's be careful and conscious in our assessment of exactly who these people are.
Beyond the urgency of filling empty stomachs is the legacy of torture and trauma that so many of these refugees have endured. The soul can become just as empty.
The company: Dr. Steven Cohen is a psychiatrist at CAMH (the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) in Toronto. He has also worked with Doctors without Borders in both Chad and Sudan. He also went t...