VIDEO: Refugees Join the Global Fight Against COVID-19

By Sharon Samber,



Every year on World Refugee Day, June 20, we recognize the struggles and strength of the millions of refugees around the world. This year we also show how their strength can help others, as the world struggles through a pandemic. 

Driven from their homes by persecution, violence, and fear, refugees encounter all kinds of hardships as they make their way to safety. The drastic impact COVID-19 has made to people’s lives is something refugees understand.

“We know what it’s like to go through this,” says Zasha of Carabayllo, Peru. “So many nights of cold, of need, of hunger.” 

But now Zasha and many other refugees are stepping up and giving back.

Whether it is delivering meals or working in hospitals, thousands of refugees around the world are helping thousands more get through the crisis.

For Bhagawat, using his business skills to get masks and other protective gear to people in the Washington, D.C. area was the right thing to do.

“This country has given so much to us,” Bhagawat says. “And at the time of the pandemic, I felt that it is my responsibility to give back.”

World Refugee Day is a moment to honor refugees around the globe seeking safety for themselves and their children. It is also a day to reflect on who we are and what we stand for when it comes to caring for those seeking to rebuild their lives.

With the population of refugees and displaced persons across the globe at record levels, HIAS is doing everything it can to ensure that refugees have access to safety.

  • HIAS provides survivors of violence with critical counseling and psychosocial support to address the shame, grief, and isolation these victims often feel.

  • HIAS focuses on economic empowerment – providing opportunities to learn new skills and encouraging local businesses to hire refugees so they can become more economically self-sufficient.

  • HIAS helps refugees navigate complicated legal systems, focusing on access to their fundamental rights and protection under the law.

  • HIAS works with communities to reduce risk, increase support for survivors of gender-based violence, and build partnerships with women-led organizations to promote and protect the rights of survivors, women, girls, and LGBTQ refugees.

 Learn more about how you can get involved and take action here.

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