Now that you know the facts, we wanted to share some stories of how TOMS is working together with Giving Partners across the globe to provide much-needed relief to refugees in the Middle East and Africa.
In addition to meeting the basic needs of refugees living in host communities or refugee camps, our Giving Partners are distributing new TOMS Shoes to children whose families have fled their homes due to violence or threat of persecution.
TOMS x UNHCR: Giving to Sudanese refugees in Uganda
Fifteen-year-old Okello and his family fled their home country of Sudan, now living in the Kyangwali refugee settlement in Uganda. With the help of TOMS Giving Partner UNHCR, Okello and his five siblings are able to attend school, receive health services and other material goods like schoolbooks, uniforms and shoes that he and his family had to leave behind.
Okello recently received a new pair of TOMS Shoes at his primary school on the Kyangwali settlement. UNHCR shares that new Shoes are included as part of its material provisions because the level of vulnerability for families living on the settlement is high — leaving many parents without a source of income to buy basic necessities like schoolbooks and meals for their families.
TOMS x U.S. Fund for UNICEF:
For 14-year-old Hadi and his family, fleeing to Lebanon to escape the conflict in Syria has been challenging. Living in a poor suburb of Beirut, Giving Partner U.S. Fund for UNICEF shares that it is nearly impossible for Syrian refugees to find work, making even getting enough food on the table for a family difficult.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF and its partners provide accelerated education and group programs like drama, art and dance and sports that help children cope with the emotional stress of fleeing their family homes for children like Hadi to help to integrate into schools. Here, Hadi also received a pair of new TOMS Winter Boots, where he is able to play soccer with friends, providing a sense of normalcy.
“I love to play football [in my new shoes],” Hadi shared. “I couldn’t really do that before. My father isn’t working and I know it would have been impossible for us to afford new shoes.”
TOMS x Save the Children:
TOMS Giving Partner Save the Children has been working at the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Mafraq, Jordan. Za’atari is the fourth most populous place in Jordan because of refugees fleeing Syria to escape the conflict.
At the camp, Save the Children is creating Child-Friendly Spaces for young Syrian refugees. In these spaces, Save the Children is able to offer a sense of safety and normalcy to children, with the opportunity to take part in education, sports and dance classes. It is in these spaces where children like 15-year-old Majida received a pair of new TOMS Winter Boots to help her through the cold months at the camp.
Majida is enrolled in English, Arabic and French classes at Za’atari and wants to be a journalist when she grows up.
“I would love to be a journalist one day. In fact, I registered with the photography class at the center…I conducted a number of interviews with shop owners here in the camp. I asked them about their businesses here and what they used to do in Syria.”
To learn more about World Refugee Day and how you can help, follow #WorldRefugeeDay on Facebook and Twitter, or visit this blog post.