Discover 9 stories that show how everyone can make a difference

World Refugee Day | 20 June 2020
GCR in Action

Discover 9 stories that show how everyone can make a difference

World Refugee Day | 20 June 2020
15 June 2020

From civil society to the private sector, Member States to diaspora communities, these nine projects highlight the spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees.

World Refugee Day 2020

World Refugee Day 2020 is being commemorated this year against a backdrop that very few have witnessed in their lifetimes. The COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ and reminded us that we are stronger when we come together and support each other. Recent global action reminds us that racism, discrimination and xenophobia are also serious threats to refugees, stateless people and all other people of concern across the world. 

Our collective goal is to build a more inclusive and equal world, and everyone has a role to play in order to bring about change. Solidarity is key. The Global Compact on Refugees explicitly calls for a whole-of-society response to refugee situations. Discover below how different actors are playing their part and contributing to the change we see today.  


Refugees, host communities and diaspora

Nick Tiling: Providing jobs, building skills and creating pathways for self-employment 

Nick Tiling Services was established based on the experiences of its founder Hedayat Osyan, a former refugee. He started his own tiling company in 2017 to exclusively employ refugees, who are otherwise marginalized by the local Australian labor market due to lack of local experience, networks and relevant skills. More than 40 people have been employed since its inception, and five have started their own businesses.



Private Sector

Instant Network Schools: Improving learning for 510,000 students 

Since 2013, Vodafone Foundation has invested €9 million to deploy 36 Instant Network Schools. Instant Network Schools enable young refugees and teachers across Africa to access digital educational content and the internet, improving the quality of education in some of the most marginalized communities where Vodafone operates. 



Academics and Researchers

A digital archive of oral histories about LGBTIQ forced displacement 

LGBTIQ+ persons in forced displacements are often marginalized due to their sexuality and gender. Their experiences tend to be excluded from mainstream refugee narratives. This results in the lack of firsthand information, the lack of understanding from the host communities, and it impacts the mental health of LGBTIQ+ refugees who are further marginalized and isolated.  

This digital archive of oral histories aims to collect, preserve and present stories of LGBTIQ+ persons who were forcibly displaced, as well as those who did not take regular migration pathways from around the world. 


International Organizations

Advocating for the needs of persons with disability - World Refugee Day 2020

Daniel Maduk Bol, a Sudanese refugee living in Kenya and who uses a wheelchair, was  the recipient of the UNHCR DAFI program. He has since become a role model and a spokesperson for refugees with disabilities around the world.

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium have raised the profile of refugees like Daniel Maduk Bol with their End of Discrimination Campaign. UNHCR welcomes the joint statement shared as part of this campaign, and is committed to include asylum seekers and refugees with disabilities, in line with the entities’ commitments under the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy and which will help advance their collaboration on the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).

Read the full statement by The International Disability Alliance and the International Disability and Development Consortium for World Refugee Day 2020 here.  


Priority Global Quota for Resettlement 

The Priority Global Quota offers resettlement places for refugees that are the most in need. It has no geographical or time restriction and has, as a result, the ability to respond to any needs that may occur throughout the year. Sweden has for many years devoted part of its national refugee resettlement programme to UNHCR’s Priority Global Quota, allowing emergencies and cases to be processed rapidly.

In 2019, Sweden allocated 600 of its 5000 national quota places to UNHCR's programme.  


Access to national services for vulnerable refugees in Peru

The initiative has allowed persons of concern with heightened vulnerabilities to access safe and free health care services through the national health system. The Carné de Extranjería (Special Immigration Card), through the Special Immigration Status, allows the holder to stay legally in the country and access a range of rights including education, work, and health, among others. Significant advocacy efforts have prompted the introduction of the Legislative Decree No. 1466, granting full access to testing and treatment for COVID-19 related health needs for persons of concern.

In 2019, some 4,000 persons, (14% children) have been able to access this Carné de Extranjería. This number is significantly more than the previous year and is growing rapidly. 65% of the Carné de Extranjería cards have been provided to persons with serious diseases enabling them to access life-saving treatment.



Bee my Job 

Bee My Job tackles inequalities in accessing wage earning employment for refugees by providing professional training and facilitating access to job opportunities in the beekeeping and agricultural field. This project also builds capacities of social workers in the design of innovative projects and services which address refugees’ specific social and job inclusion needs. Since 2015, Bee My Job has trained 170 refugees and promoted over 106 internships, all over Italy. 



Cities, municipalities and local authorities

Establishing Regional Technical Offices in municipalities across Lebanon

In Lebanon, Regional Technical Offices (RTOs) were created to strengthen the local governments’ capacity to cope with the increasing demands on services due to the influx of thousands of refugees from Syria. By empowering local actors, RTOs create sustainable and fast-acting solutions. Aware of municipalities' various needs, RTOs promote integrated cross-cutting activities. They help avoid duplication, providing cost-efficient solutions and mainstreaming various interventions into a clear regional plan.  

The RTO is the link between the community, key stakeholders, UN agencies, INGOs, NGOs and the local authorities whereby they enhance coordination and strategically address key issues to plan, identify needs and respond to challenges through avoiding duplication. 


Faith-based organizations

Unemployment solutions for refugees in Bidibidi, Palorinya, and surrounding host communities 

Caritas Uganda is providing vocational and community-based skills training to South Sudanese refugees and host communities in Zone 2 of Bidibidi refugee settlement and surrounding host communities, including youth and adolescents. Training includes non-agricultural skills through a 6-month vocational training and a 3-month community-based skills training. The training empowers the youth, adolescents and women to find employment opportunities and thus sustain their livelihoods.  

25% of the 400 young people have started their own businesses and are making money.