International Migration Day falls on 18 December 2018. This is an opportunity for us to look back at 2018 and our global “Share the Journey” campaign with migrants and refugees. Through events and activities across the world, people founded friendships, built solidarity and forged hope for the future.
Here are some inspiring examples of how people shared the journey this past year.
Global Solidarity Walk
In October, we launched a 1 million kilometre global pilgrimage with migrants and refugees. Caritas president, Cardinal Luis Tagle, led a walk through Rome which ended up in Saint Peter’s Square. Watch Pope Francis’ words of encouragement for all Share the Journey pilgrims.
Since October 2018 communities and migrants and refugees walked together all over the world. Walks have taken place in counties including Somalia, Chile, Greece, Iraq, Syria, Honduras, New Zealand, Jordan, Sweden, Thailand, Canada, the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom.
In Iraq, Caritas gathered almost 500 people to run 10 kilometres in their first ever solidarity marathon.
Share a meal with migrants and refugees
Our global week of action in June saw communities sitting down and sharing a meal with migrants and refugees in many places across the world. Find out which countries participated. The week promoted the culture of encounter by bringing people together to eat, talk and share. The week coincided with World Refugee Day on 20 June so many events took place on this day.
Caritas Syria gave a beautiful testimony of how communities who have suffered the tragedy of war can find moments of healing when they sit down together in to share: “Those who came to the meal have told us we not only fed hungry people with a rich meal, but we were also able to touch their hearts deeply, and to help them start forgiving and connecting with others.” Read this blog from Caritas Syria.
Meal sharing took a quirky turn in Belgium where Caritas Belgium International conducted a social experiment. They arranged for a migrant or refugee to invite themselves to sit down with people eating in a restaurant. With such a request, who could say no? Watch the Caritas Belgium film in French.
Catholic Relief Services (one of Caritas’ US member organisations) challenged people’s perceptions of migrants and refugees with its “Be Unafraid” roving photo exhibition. They showed us that the fears that often tear communities apart can also be something that unites us. Watch this film about the Be Unafraid project.
Caritas Ambrosiana in Milan meanwhile organised abseiling down one of Milan’s skyscrapers. They were raising awareness of the difficulties migrants and refugees face. On the same day they launched the Share the Journey/Scendi dalla pianta photo contest.
Global Compacts on migrants and refugees
The year closed with an important moment for the future of migration. On 10 December, International Human Rights Day, the UN adopted the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular migration. Caritas, as a member of Civil Society, contributed to the drafting process. Our advocacy staff were in Marrakesh for the signing. We urge governments to work towards implementing the Global Compact and ensure migrants and refugees have access to social services. Read our statement on the Global Compacts on migrants and refugees.
Cardinal Tagle’s Advent message
As the end of 2018 draws near, Advent reminds us how closely the journeys of migrants and refugees tie in with that of the Holy Family. Cardinal Tagle reminds us that “Like Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the Magi, we are all called on journeys which require strength, perseverance, humanity, wisdom and courage.”
From Caritas Internationalis in Rome and from our 165 organisations around the world, we wish migrants, refugees and communities around the world a joyful International Migrant Day and a Christmas where hope is reborn.