According to new numbers released today by the United Nations for World Refugee Day, the world is now faced with the largest number of people ever displaced, 65.3 million. That is about the size of the United Kingdom or France, the world's 21st and 22nd largest countries. Put in context, 1 in every 113 people in the world is either a refugee, seeking asylum, or internally displaced.
Refugees are not a singular group; there is great diversity of experiences, cultures, religions and languages within these numbers. Look further, and you'll find incredibly resilient, hopeful, creative, and kind individuals searching for safety and a brighter future. Soccer Without Borders is proud to support these individuals along that journey to finding new home.
While the statistics released today paint a harrowing picture of a global reality, please take a moment to read and watch the stories of Olivier (SWB Uganda) and Pivot (SWB Baltimore). Olivier fled violence in the South Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006, halting his journey in Kampala, Uganda while he and his family awaited resettlement. There, he helped to create Soccer Without Borders Uganda.
Pivot and his family, including his twin brother Jean-Marie, fled their native Guinea after their family was targeted for their political beliefs. Upon resettlement in Baltimore and with support from the International Rescue Committee, he and Jean-Marie joined Soccer Without Borders.
Soccer Without Borders is proud to celebrate World Refugee Day, honoring the youth and families in our programs who have undertaken the difficult work of starting over. Like Pivot and Olivier, they have made their new communities stronger through their initiative, inspiration, and hard work.