A Christmas Thought
December 25, 2022
On this day of Christmas 2022 let us be considerate of those millions of refugees around the world who are displaced and who find themselves in a foreign land. While many of us celebrate with loved ones, there are those who are separated from theirs. Among these are the Syrian and Ukrainian refugees, who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and war.
For those who celebrate Christmas, it is a time to gather around Christmas trees and exchange gifts with family and friends, and it is important to remember the plight of these refugees and the challenges they face on a daily basis. For many of them, the holiday season is just another day of struggle and hardship, as they fight to find food, shelter, and safety in a strange and often sometimes unfriendly and hostile host city.
As the conflict in Ukraine continues to escalate, the number of refugees fleeing the country has reached record levels. The UN says that, as of 4 July, more than 5.2 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe. More than 3.5 million have applied for temporary residence in another country. According to Statista, as of December 13, 2022 the numbers are as follows:
- Russia: 2,852,395 Ukrainian refugees recorded
- Poland: 1,529,355
- Germany: 1,021,667
- Czechia: 467,862
- Italy: 173,231
- Spain: 156,753
- U.K: 147,800
- France: 118,994
- Slovakia: 102,873
- Romania: 98,103
- Moldova: 98,027
- Austria: 89,244
- Netherlands: 79,250
- Hungary: 25,800
- Belarus: 9,820
The impact of the refugee crisis is felt not just by those who have been displaced, but also by the communities that are hosting them. In Russia, for example, the influx of refugees has put a strain on already stretched resources and caused tensions to rise further between Ukrainians and Russians.
Despite this, there are organizations working to help refugees from Ukraine. The UNHCR (https://www.unhcr.org/) is providing assistance with shelter, food, and medical care, as well as helping refugees to find employment and access education. Other organizations, such as the Red Cross (https://www.redcross.org/), are also working to provide assistance and support to those affected by the crisis.
In addition to the challenges faced by refugees in Ukraine, the holiday season can also be a difficult time for those who have been displaced from their homes. In Ukraine, Christmas is traditionally celebrated on January 7th according to the Julian calendar, which is used by the Eastern Orthodox Church. For refugees who have been forced to leave their homes and communities, the holiday season can be a particularly difficult time as they are unable to participate in traditional celebrations and are faced with the ongoing stress and uncertainty of displacement or no power if they stay.
The situation in Syria and Ukraine remains dire, with ongoing violence and instability forcing more and more people to flee their homes. Many of these refugees are children, who have been torn from their families and communities and are now living in refugee camps or makeshift shelters. They face a future filled with uncertainty and fear, as they struggle to adapt to a new way of life and find a sense of belonging in a foreign land.
It is our responsibility as global citizens to do what we can to support these refugees and help them rebuild their lives. This can include donating to organizations that provide aid and assistance to refugees, volunteering our time and resources to help those in need, and to building communities that strengthen these bonds regardless of political persuasion.
From everyone at Empowch we wish you the best possible holiday season no matter your beliefs or practices and we truly hope kindness and compassion embrace our communities, your family and your friends.