News Release

World Refugee Day: A Look at Church Refugee Aid in Europe

Courageous refugees and European Saints' relief efforts are honored on World Refugee Day 2023

There are currently 32.5 million refugees worldwide, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. Each year on 20 June, World Refugee Day is designated by the United Nations to recognize those who have the courage to flee their home country due to conflict or persecution. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints strives to provide support for displaced individuals and families, collaborating with other global organisations engaged in this relief effort.

The Church of Jesus Christ encourages its members to assist refugees forced to evacuate their homes. In 2021, the Church affirmed in a general handbook update that “As part of their responsibility to care for those in need, Church members offer their time, talents and friendship to welcome refugees as members of their communities.”

Over the past year, conflicts have driven many individuals into various parts of Europe seeking refuge from the dangers persisting in their home countries and communities. Through 174 refugee response projects in 2022, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members around the globe provided resources to these individuals and families who hope for a brighter future. The Church in Europe has served at the forefront of this effort, assisting refugees regardless of culture, race, or religion.

Helping across Europe

As a result of military actions in Ukraine, countries in Europe have received the largest influx of refugees since World War II. In response to this crisis, the Church has expended upwards of 15.6 million ($16.8 million) to aid Ukrainian refugees and donated over 900 tons of food and provisions for Ukrainians in need. In addition to providing for their physical wellbeing, the Church has hosted weekly online seminars and discussions to help distressed Ukrainians cope with their experiences. The Church’s work in Ukraine has been described in-depth in this article located on the global Church newsroom.

Other recent Church of Jesus Christ humanitarian projects in Poland, Spain, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Georgia assist refugees from Ukraine and other countries. The Church collaborated with 294 organisations throughout Europe in 2022 to support humanitarian projects. As a result, thousands of individuals and families have found relief and comfort in difficult circumstances.

Outreach in Italy

The Church in Italy has conducted several refugee projects, partnering with food banks, refugee centers, musicians, community leaders and housing complexes to provide aid and comfort for refugees.

Peace and Monday Ehigiamusoe, former refugees, fled their homeland in Africa seeking refuge in Rome, Italy. During their journey by boat, the refugee group encountered violent storms drowning many fellow refugees. Peace and Monday lost their meager belongings but survived the rough conditions and arrived safely in Italy. They met volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the network of refugees in the area and received resources to establish themselves in their new country.

The Church assisted Monday in obtaining an education and finding stable work. Now, Peace and Monday consistently serve their local community, assisting other refugees and those in need. Faith played a significant role in motivating the Ehigiamusoe family to seek a better life and the Church provided support with both their physical and spiritual well-being.

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