Church of South India Synod Youth Department
observes World Refugee Day with the Rohingya Refugee Settlement
“Now more than ever, we need to stand With Refugees” being the theme of World Refugee day 2018 resonates the dire need for faith based and other communities to respond to the plight of refugees locally and globally.
The Church of South India Synod Youth Department under its project Migrants’ Intervention Towards Holistic Responsive Action (MITHRA) has been continually engaged with various migrant and refugee communities in CSI engaging the youth to give their time and resources to enhance the quality of these vulnerable communities through various creative initiatives. Youth Volunteers have been regularly teaching the children and spending quality time with them in building their self-esteem.
On the 20th of June, CSI observed World Refugee Day by organizing a community event for the Rohingya Refugee Settlement outside Chennai. An evening filled with recreational activities, sports and team building activities were planned for the entire community to show our solidarity with the refugee settlement. On this Day, the world also acknowledges the courage, strength and perseverance of thousands of refugee families who have fled their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict, war and violence. The significance of celebrating World Refugee Day lies in its humanitarian goals. Refugee crisis is one of the most alarming problems facing the humanity.
The General Secretary of CSI, Rev. Dr. Rathnakara Sadananda, who inaugurated this event addressed the refugee community. He said that the Church is committed in enhancing the quality of their living through the initiatives of the Youth Department. He highlighted that Jesus, himself was a refugee and for the church it becomes a faith commitment to engage with them and respond to their needs. He thanked them for allowing the church to intervene and helping the church to learn about their plight they face in a different country which is so alien to them. He also wished them God’s blessings and said that they would experience life, dignity and respect during their stay here as refugees.
The Youth of CSI from various Dioceses who came to conduct this event organised many recreational activities and made the evening a memorable one. They played and danced with the children breaking the barriers of religion, ethnicity, language and gender. The event came to a close with distributing many gifts to the families and the children of the refugee settlement and also a fellowship meal.
The Synod Youth Department pledges its continued interventions among these refugee communities and commits to engage the youth in this process through MITHRA. It seeks to:
• To honour the courage and perseverance of refugees who are fighting for their very survival against all odds.
• To garner support of local communities and faith based organizations in order to address refugee issues.
• To make people aware about the plight of refugees and to call upon them to help the refugees in their struggle.
• To press upon the asylum giving governments to make policies which shall provide a safe and secure life to refugees till they are settled permanently again in their homeland.
• To remind ourselves that we all part of same humanity and we share responsibility towards each other to help out in times of need.
• And above all to make a violence free world where no one is persecuted on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity, religion, region or culture etc.
The Department of Youth acknowledges the guidance rendered by the Officers of the Synod, the Youth volunteers who spared their time and UNHCR in Chennai for recognizing and acknowledging the commitment of CSI in this process.