NIAGARA FALLS – Every minute, 31 people are forced to leave their homes. The majority of them live in the poorest countries in the world under extremely difficult conditions. Armed conflict, climate change, development megapro-jects, persecution. The causes of forced displacement are multiple, interwoven and complex.
Many people have the mistaken idea that most of these unfortunate people are on their way to the wealthy countries on the Northern Hemisphere. In fact most of them live in squalid conditions in neighbouring countries, ill equipped to provide them with the assistance they need. For example, there are approximately 700,000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh who fled Myanmar. Over a million Syrian refugees continue to live in Lebanon, waiting for conditions to improve so they can return home.
As the international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada, Development and Peace: Caritas Canada partners with groups on the ground trying to improve conditions so people do not have to leave their homes, or if they do, so that they can live with dignity until they can return home.
Pope Francis initiated the idea of “a spirit of encounter” to get to know a refugee family and their story, and “walk in the shoes” of a displaced person. In solidarity with the 68.5 million forcibly displaced children, women and men around the world, Development and Peace members across Canada are walking a total of 40,075 km, the equivalent of the Earth’s circumference to raise awareness and raise funds for the plight of displaced persons.
Development and Peace groups at St. Thomas More and Our Lady of the Scapular churches in Niagara Falls walked in solidarity with the world’s refugees Saturday, June 1. A 4.2 kilometre route left from St. Thomas More at 10 a.m. Organizers welcomed everyone including any refugee families to come and walk and share their story.
Donations can be made online at http://www.devp.org/walk/2622. Donations over $10 will receive a tax receipt from Development and Peace.
(Source: Frank Fohr/Development and Peace)