Refugees flee their homes, businesses, farms, and communities in order to escape war and persecution. Often refugees flees to save their or their families’ lives. They rarely know how long it will be before it is safe to return home and they often have no time to plan the departure or pack appropriately. Family records, professional documents, diplomas, photographs, and other precious items are often left behind.
Seeking Legal Refugee Status
In order to receive official refugee status in a country of asylum, an individual has to have left his or her home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, social group affiliation, or political opinion. The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is usually responsible for awarding legal refugee status. In addition, UNHCR often offers refugees protection, assistance, and alternative legal and travel documents.
UNHCR refers only about 1 percent of all refugees for resettlement in a third country. Only when all efforts to either help refugees return home or settle permanently in the country of asylum have failed does third country resettlement become the option of last resort. The following countries have resettlement programs: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Other countries accept individual refugees on an ad hoc basis. Family ties, trade skills, professional abilities, language facility, and various other factors are considered by UNHCR when matching a refugee with a resettlement country.
For several years Agape International has been working with the refugees in several ways. First, we are planting Christian churches among them by supporting those called as Apostles to the nations. We currently have several churches in our network throughout several states. Secondly, we are planting Bible training centers among the refugees to train leaders for the sake of ministry. Third, we have some refugee pastors who are reaching out to the US government and helping them with the refugees needs. We are offering the new refugees a place to live temporarily while they get government housing. We are helping to find jobs for these individuals as they desire to become productive members of society.
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