It is one of the most densely populated and at the same time the poorest countries in the world. There are more than one thousand inhabitants here per one square kilometer. The country’s population is almost 150 million. In the neighboring Myanmar, since mid-2017, thousands of the Rohingya people have lost their lives, their villages have been burned down, and the survivors approached the border with Bangladesh. Within several months, more than 750 refugees settled in the border area.
- The UN has been calling persecution of the Rohingya an ethnic cleansing
- The Rohingya are the most persecuted ethnic group today
- the world’s largest refugee camp, home to approximately 920,000 Rohingya, is located near the city of Cox’s Bazar
- 55% of the camp residents are children
On the occasion of the 105th World Migrant and Refugee Day celebrated today in the church, Pope Francis talked about what it means to love your neighbor. More specifically, “it is becoming the fellow men of all travelers, beaten and abandoned on the roads of the world, to soothe their wounds and take them to the nearest place of hospitality, where their needs can be met.”
We encounter people forced to flee and leave their homeland, land, and the only property they have in Good Factories in different parts of the world. In Burkina Faso, we do everything we can to provide residents with jobs and help them adapt to the new reality of climate change and desertification happening around the small village of Gourcy in the north of the country. Decades ago, local villagers were experts at growing cotton. Today, due to persistent drought, there is no trace of cotton crops. The past two years, however, we have been growing 2 hectares of our vegetable garden, which provides jobs and food for the poorest villagers. Thanks to this, they do not have to flee their homes due to famine.
It has never been peaceful in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to the war and violent crime plaguing the region for over a year, residents of North Kivu now also have one more reason to fear for their lives – the largest Ebola epidemic in the history of Congo is still raging in the province. It’s not talked about much but data from yesterday show the scale of the problem. To date, 3,186 people have fallen ill, 2,128 of whom did not survive. Our hospital and feeding center in Ntamugengais operating at full capacity thanks to our courageous and knowledgeable staff. Our presence in Congo helps save nearly 30,000 people every year from hunger disease, malaria and other diseases.
A few days ago we launched our new safety centre for children and adults in the largest refugee camp in the world in Bangladesh. Here they will be able to get a meal and feel like at home and hopefully get their minds off of the hellish life they experienced in their home countries. We look after 80 children a day, doing our best to make them feel like children should, carefree and safe, as well as 30 adults, whom we help regain confidence by teaching them job skills.
Several thousand refugees still arrive on the Greek islands every month. For the past two months, the number of people boarding inflatable pontoons and boats on the Turkish coast has been on the rise – almost 26,000 people arrived by sea in August alone. In the largest Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, which was supposed to house 2,500 people, there are already over 13,000 refugees today. Among them are Syrians, Afghans, and Congolese people who have fled for the reasons described above. Their homes have been devastated by wars and humanitarian crises. We are not able to help everyone, but we try to be present in places where we can provide the most urgent care – treating wounds, feeding the hungry and helping them acclimate. Because of this, we have been on the Greek island of Lesbos for a few weeks now. Along with Katerina and Nikos we feed refugees in Moira, inviting them to Home for All – formerly a cozy Greek restaurant, it’s now a place where anyone in need can eat a meal for free. We would like to expand this facility so that we can prepare even more meals in the kitchen and provide more space for the children and teenagers who come here every day seeking solace and an escape from their worries.
The word “home” is one used here a lot and that is the whole point. A sculpture representing a group of migrants from different cultures and different historical periods was erected today at St. Mark’s Square. It is meant to remind everyone of the evangelical call to hospitality. If you want to help us to provide more support and put more smiles on people’s faces, visit Good24.pl regularly, and spread the word about us. Today, we are able to help 40,000 people a year. It is only thanks to you and the people you tell about Good Factory that there could be many, many more next year.
The girl smiling at you in the first photo is Milka, who after an exhausting journey was brought to our Congolese hospital by her father when she was just four months old. Following the tragic death of her mother, her father was not able to look after her and set out on a journey in the hopes of finding good people and help for his daughter. He found both in Ntamugenga.