By Maria Bohan
“Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings.”
When the Somali militiamen started making threats against Mohad and his family, he had to make the most difficult decision of his life—to leave his family behind for their safety, and for his.
The journey to refuge in Malta was even harder. Mohad crossed the Sahara desert on his own, and with only a GPS to guide him and his fellow refugees, sailed from Africa to Malta. (1)
Mohad’s story had a happy ending. Five years later, he and his family reunited in Poland. There are countless other refugees, however, who never see their families again—or never make it to safety.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has pages full of similarly life-threatening journeys to safety (http://stories.unhcr.org/).
And safety is a relative term—while refugees escape the violence of their former countries, the camps they may end up in often lack adequate amounts of water, food, electricity, and healthcare. According to the UNHCR, World Refugee Day on June 20th is a day to “commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees.” (2)
The Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York stand with refugees and their families. On June 20th, many of our Sisters and Associates will take a moment to pray with refugees.
If you’d like to show your support for World Refugee Day, take a minute to join nearly two million others and sign the UNHCR’s #WithRefugees petition at http://www.unhcr.org/refugeeday/us , and use the hashtag #WithRefugees on social media.
Maria Bohan is a Volunteer for the Communications and Development Office at the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York. She is a student at Bryn Mawr College majoring in English and a graduate of Pearl River High School.