Solidarity Shines Through on World Refugee Day

By Beverly Goldberg and Sharon Samber

Refugee children participate in activities held at the World Refugee Day event in Bucharest, Romania on June 20, 2024. The celebration gathered refugees and members of the local community for music, dance, and an entrepreneurship fair. (Iryna Kolesnyk for HIAS Romania)

The Multicultural Fair in Oranjestad displays the cultures and cuisines of different countries from around the world in Oranjestad, Aruba, on June 20, 2024. At the HIAS Aruba stand, attendees participated in an art workshop based on the theme of solidarity. (Oscarly Garcia/HIAS Aruba)

Together with local organizations, HIAS participates in a procession to advocate for refugee rights in Nakuru, Kenya, on June 20, 2024. There were performances and activities that showcased different cultures, and speeches about the challenges refugees face in Kenya. (Samuel Chau/HIAS Kenya)

A REFUGIARTE art workshop organized by HIAS and UNHCR brings together refugee women and women that work with the National Migration Authority of Panama (SENAFRONT) in David, Panama, on June 12, 2024. (Alejandra Angulo/HIAS Panama)

An entrepreneurship meeting organized by HIAS and the Santa Ana local government promotes inclusion of refugees and migrants in the labor market in Costa Rica on June 21, 2024. (Yoerli Viloria/HIAS Costa Rica)

Each year, World Refugee Day (June 20) is an important commemoration that reminds us of the plight of the millions of people forced to flee their homes. It is also a reminder of our shared responsibility in helping refugees find safety.

The theme of this year’s World Refugee Day — solidarity — highlights how actions of solidarity with refugees can make a huge difference in their lives, no matter how big or small.

At HIAS, showing solidarity with refugees is fundamental to our work around the world. Here’s how some of our country offices celebrated World Refugee Day this year, and how they decided to show displaced people that they’re not alone:


Our team in Aruba participated in a multicultural fair, together with UNHCR, CEDE Aruba, VeneAruba Solidaria, IOM, and PADF. The fair displayed cultural practices and cuisine from countries around the world, revealing the diversity of the refugee population in Aruba. Participants from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti gathered for dance shows and activities for children. Attendees were also encouraged to paint messages of solidarity for refugees at the HIAS Aruba stand, where they learned about the different services HIAS provides and about the importance of supporting displaced people.


The HIAS Kenya team scored several goals this World Refugee Day. In collaboration with different partner organizations such as the Ikea Foundation and International Rescue Committee, the HIAS team organized a refugee soccer match in Nairobi, along with information sessions for the public. The events included cultural exchanges and dance shows that highlighted the talents and resilience of refugees and promoted cultural exchange and community integration.

At Mount Kenya University, HIAS’ legal protection team participated in the Kenya Model United Nations, engaging young leaders and future policymakers in discussions about the challenges and contributions of refugees. HIAS Kenya also joined forces with Inkomoko Kenya, Oxfam, and the Refugee Youth Education Hub for a round table discussion focused on economic inclusion for refugees and strategies for empowering refugee entrepreneurs.

Costa Rica

HIAS hosted activities across the country designed to create engaging spaces for refugees and to raise awareness of the challenges they face. With the support of the Latin American University of Science and Technology and UNHCR, HIAS organized a presentation for the public on the challenges that refugees and migrants face in Costa Rica.

In Paso Canoas, HIAS Costa Rica ran a workshop on reproductive rights for women and LGBTQ+ refugees in collaboration with the National Women’s Institute, the Migration Authority, and UNHCR. Finally, with the support of the Local Government of Santa Ana, business owners learned about the importance of providing opportunities for displaced people in a gathering of entrepreneurs.


Together with the refugee community center MALVA, HIAS organized an event for 300 refugees which included dance sessions, games for children, and creative workshops such as drawing, painting plaster figures, and bracelet making. There were also face painting sessions and other creative workshops, as well as a Ukrainian choir and an African singer who performed on stage. Representatives from several hotel chains in Bucharest came to share employment opportunities.


HIAS Panama hosted different activities in collaboration with UNHCR in the city of David. Festivities kicked off with a painting workshop which gathered women from refugee communities and women who work for the National Migration Service together to use art as a tool to promote solidarity and empathy toward refugees. At a fair in the Parque Cervantes, attendees engaged with a photography exhibition that showed the faces and stories of refugee women, along with an information stall for refugees and the public.

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