LDS Charities has focused on helping refugees and internally displaced persons since 1985, when the LDS Church provided funding to respond to the Ethiopian famine. Since then, the program has expanded its reach to refugees throughout the world. LDS Charities continues to respond to many refugee relief efforts, including the recent refugee crisis in Europe. LDS Charities’ first priority during a crisis situation is to respond to the short-term needs of refugees fleeing their countries or living in refugee camps. Once these immediate needs have been met, the focus shifts to longer-term projects that will increase the standard of living for refugees.
Emergency Response for Refugees
The LDS Charities emergency response efforts focus on short-term projects that are intended to sustain life. These include providing food, shelter, medical care, and other immediate needs. Local leaders or volunteers of the LDS Church, if available in the region, supervise these efforts. Most relief projects are done in partnership with government or trusted nongovernment organizations that are already established in the area.
See how past LDS Charities projects provided emergency relief for refugees:
Ongoing Support for Refugees
Most refugees never return to their homes but instead resettle in other countries. They stay in temporary housing such as refugee camps as they wait and often find it difficult to thrive in these types of situations. LDS Charities pays special attention to the long-term needs of refugees in these camps. Past projects have included building schools for children in the camps, running immunization campaigns, and providing clean water.
See past projects showing ongoing support for refugees:
Other LDS Church Efforts
LDS Charities is the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church also supports refugees through other organizations such as Deseret Industries (DI) and the LDS Humanitarian Center. Both DI and the LDS Humanitarian Center provide work training and job placement services for resettled refugees as well as furniture and clothing. Excess donations made to the DI are often sent abroad to refugee camps and other disadvantaged areas, and refugees earn a wage while in English class at the LDS Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City. Local leaders of the LDS Church are also encouraged to seek out needs in their communities and do what they can to help.
How Can I Support Refugees?
LDS Charities encourages all who are interested in its work to not only donate to these humanitarian efforts but also to research ways they can help in their own communities. Each year, thousands of refugees are relocated to countries around the world. These countries often struggle to know how to support refugees due to language and cultural barriers or simply because of a lack of resources. Volunteers are an essential part of meeting this need. When looking for local opportunities to get involved, a good place to start is the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the United States and UNHCR for organizations outside the United States.