The Syrian refugee crisis is a problem of enormous proportions with more than 4.5 million Syrians now in North Africa, Lebanon, Greece, and Europe. Along with Syrians, refugees from other conflict-torn parts of the world are risking life and limb to seek new homes in the European Union. A21—a ministry focused on addressing human trafficking—is one of many Christian organizations who are responding. We recently spoke with Bianca Juarez Olthoff, A21’s Chief Storyteller and a TCW advisor, about the refugee crisis and what TCW readers can do to help.
You recently spent time at an A21 aftercare location in Greece. What was that experience like?
Even though I’ve traveled to many impoverished areas in my life, I don’t think I really knew how severe this problem is. We all tend to suffer from compassion fatigue. We’re assaulted every single day with news of tragic, horrible things—like the bombing in Paris or thousands of children dying from poverty or the violence of the LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army] in Africa. When we’re constantly hearing all of these negative things, news of the current refugee crisis can seem like just one more thing. But having the opportunity to see and hear and smell and touch the real people involved in this crisis was a game changer for me.
Yes, this is the largest migration of people since World War II, but these are not just statistics. These are people. They are mothers, fathers, teenagers, grandparents, and children who are fleeing for their lives. They’re fleeing for hope—the hope of freedom and the hope of simply living their lives. We need to put a name, a face, a story to the statistics.1
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Refugees Are People—Not Numbers
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