The Weekly Round-Up
The Weekly Round-Up
Welcome to The Briefing newsletter by Jason Clarke and Will Maddox. This week, we look at refugees in financial dilemmas, Central American forced migration, the positive impact of refugees and the way Turkey cares for Syrian refugees. The Briefing is a collaboration between Seek the Peace and We Welcome Refugees.
The popular podcast This American Life recently chronicled the dilemma faced by refugees all over the world when they fall into debt in the camps. When food runs short, refugees are forced to purchase food on credit from the shops that develop in and around the camp. If they cannot pay their bill, their only option is often to accept payment for leaving the camp and ending their refugee status, which often involves returning to the country where they feared for their lives. Follow a family in this position in the episode, “Damned If You Do.”
Though they don’t meet the traditional definition of refugees, the forced migration of thousands of people from Latin America over the past couple decades is an issue that our nation faces as they head for safety in the United States. Many face danger from street gangs and drug cartels in their hometown, but languish in Mexico or repeat dangerous and costly illegal entry as the United States step up control.
The UN High Commission on Refugees says that 60 percent of refugees don’t live in tents, but in cities. Though there can be initial economic hardship due to the shock of housing so many people, the entrepreneurial spirit and resourcefulness often benefits the host country. New neighborhoods can be rejuvenated; the refugees serve as new customers for business, and many refugees start businesses of their own. They can also help sustain population for countries with declining childbirth rates in Europe.
Because of ongoing conflict in Syria, there are 3.5 million refugees in Turkey, greater than the population of Paris, France. Some refugees live in isolated temporary accommodations, with schools, libraries and shops. Others are left to fend for themselves, with $40 per person per month to find housing and food. The accomplishment is impressive considering Europe’s reluctance to settle Syrian refugees. The government also provides vocational programs and training for the refugees, which can lead to a more permanent existence.