Every year on June 20, the world recognizes World Refugee Day and celebrates the bravery, resolve, and strength of people that have been forced to flee their home country and resettle in another. This year, on the 23rd anniversary of World Refugee Day, we once again have an opportunity to show our support for refugees by taking actions that promote the long-term economic integration and empowerment of refugees across the globe. At a time when the global refugee population has been rapidly increasing and the need remains great, there’s never been a better time to demonstrate our support for these newer members of our communities.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are over 108.4 million forcibly displaced people in the world, 35.3 million of whom are refugees. Escaping conflict, disaster, and all manners of persecution, refugees overcome the unfathomable to restart their lives in their new home country, but their challenges don’t end after resettlement. Access to affordable housing, education, healthcare, and a lack of employment opportunities can remain elusive, complicating the resettlement process and impeding their ability to economically integrate into their new home country.
While World Refugee Day is a time to reflect on the plight and strength of refugees, it is also a time to commit to doing more to support refugee communities. At PayPal, our mission to democratize financial services motivates and inspires us to assist those that are financially underserved by creating economic opportunity, developing tools that allow inpiduals and small businesses to fully participate in commerce and, in doing so, contribute to improved financial health. PayPal products that enable online payments, provide access to capital, and that facilitate international remittances are all part of the suite of tools that we’ve developed that empower refugee entrepreneurs and inpiduals. We’ve also launched fundraising campaigns to support refugees in times of need and have assisted our partners as they’ve done the same. In Ukraine, our customers donated over $600 million to support refugees and internally displaced Ukrainians through fundraisers, partners campaigns and direct donations to nonprofits.
But to support the economic empowerment and long-term economic integration of refugees, we’ve gone beyond our product and service offerings and have been pursuing complementary actions that support refugees in the communities in which we reside. In 2021 we joined the Tent Partnership for Refugees and began mentoring refugees, and in 2022 we committed to working with our in-market customers service provider in Latin America to hire refugees in Colombia and Brazil. This year we again joined with our partners at Tent to help them launch three new refugee mentorship programs in the U.S. specifically for Afghan, women, and Hispanic refugees. The programs help participants improve their work readiness skills, navigate the complexities of the U.S. job market, and support their career development goals. We’re also launching two new nonprofit partnerships this summer that will enable us to hire refugees more easily and intentionally in the U.S., Ireland, and the U.K.
The magnitude of this challenge is significant. The world has become increasingly uncertain, leading more and more people to become forcibly displaced. But despite this challenge, each of us can help welcome these newer members of our communities. World Refugee Day may have started as a day to celebrate and honor refugees, but we can also use it as a call to action. We invite you to consider some ways you can support refugees, like patronizing a refugee-owned small business, donating to a refugee resettlement agency or nonprofit, or volunteering or mentoring at an NGO or nonprofit that supports refugees. While each of these actions may seem small on their own, collectively, they can have an immeasurable effect on the inpiduals, families, and small business owners that they reach. We’re all in this together; no one is in this alone.
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