Imagine that your life is in danger and you have to flee your home. You don’t have time to prepare or take anything with you. You must flee now. What would you do? Where would you go? How would you feel?
More than 68.5 million people worldwide have faced this situation. In fact, every minute, 31 people are forced to flee their homes to escape war, persecution, large-scale development projects, extreme poverty or the consequences of climate change. They are children such as Shominara, who fled Burma with her family to escape the persecution suffered by the Rohingya and found refuge in Bangladesh; women such Qawthar, who had to flee war in Syria and has now been living in Lebanon for the last six years; and men such as Amechi in Nigeria, who fled to save his life when armed forces turned their weapons on peaceful protesters asking for fair compensation from an oil company exploiting and polluting their land.
This Lenten season, Pope Francis reminds us that “Faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others.” He invites us to reach out and encounter migrants and refugees, to be fellow travellers with our brothers and sisters who have had to flee their homes — to share the journey with them.
One way to do that is to contribute to the Share Lent campaign by using the Development & Peace envelope in your box of offering envelopes or to make a donation online at www.devp.org. Together we can build a world of justice by taking action on the root causes of forced migration and by supporting the most vulnerable populations in the Global South — people like Shominara, Qawthar and Amechi.