By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Caritas Europa has chosen World Refugee Day to launch a #whatishome campaign on social media. The project is a perfect way to mark the UN sponsored day on which the “strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees” is commemorated.
About the #whatishome campaign
Shannon Pfohman, Policy and Advocacy Director of Caritas Europa, spoke with Vatican News. She told us that the #whatishome campaign is sponsored by Caritas Europa and 11 other European Caritas organizations. It is part of a three-year advocacy campaign called MIND—Migration INterconnectedness Development.
The #whatishome campaign goes live on Wednesday in Brussels where the “factors of forced migration and … opportunities for intervention” will be discussed.
How we can participate in the campaign
Shannon says that those wishing to participate in the campaign can do so online beginning today. Using the hashtag, people can post photos on social media that communicate their personal understanding of “home”. Other activities are in preparation such as a “buddy program, a human library, solidarity rounds and walks in different countries”, Shannon told us.
Caritas Europa hopes that the #whatishome campaign will “raise awareness about the interconnection between migration and development”. They also wish to highlight the importance of “the sustainable development goals … in alleviating poverty, and addressing some of the root causes of migration”. The third goal is to publicize the “contribution that migrants make” to society and to their home countries.
Other ways to help refugees
Caritas Europa is also asking people to sign “the European citizens’ initiative” which promotes the protection of migrant organizations and the decriminalization of those who aid migrants. They are also encouraging community involvement in resettling migrants.
Advocating for refugees
Shannon says that an important part of Caritas Europa’s advocacy for refugees is to “change the language … around this”. Instead of speaking of a “refugee crisis”, they speak of a “solidarity crisis”. “Much more can be done”, she continued. The advocacy Caritas Europa undertakes directly at the political level seeks to address the unwillingness on the part of European Union States to take responsibility and “provide durable and long-term solutions”.