Omran Daqneesh became a world celebrity in August, but not in the typical sense. If his name doesn’t sound familiar, you no doubt remember the image of the Aleppian boy perched on an bright orange seat in an ambulance, blood-splattered and covered in dust. Minutes before, first responders pulled Omran from the rubble of a building destroyed by an airstrike.
During the following weeks, images and video of Omran circulated all around the world. But he is only one of 50 million children around the world who migrated or is displaced by war and violence, according the United Nations Children’s Fund.
In a devastating and disproportionate statistic, the U.N. claims kids comprise about one-third of the global population, but about half of all refugees.
According to their findings, 11 million of these kids are either refugees or asylum-seekers forced to flee their homes because of violence, terrorism or similar instability. Many, like Omran, are from Syria, where a devastating civil war just concluded its fifth year and claimed 400,000 lives.
In addition, at least 20 million children globally flee their homes because of non-violent causes like natural disasters or climate change. And the spread of ISIS in the Middle East has displaced another 17 million kids within their own countries.
Last year, according to UNICEF, more than 100,000 of these children applied for asylum unaccompanied—meaning they’re not only refugees, but they’re alone.
For centuries, Christians have applied Jesus’ teaching to care for the “least of these”—a theme explicitly reiterated in the book of James—as an imperative to protect and provide for children. Now, children around the world face an unprecedented crisis that Christ followers can’t ignore.
Volunteer: Use your time and skill to serve with an organization like World Relief, which is helping settle refugees across the U.S.
Advocate: Tons of nonprofits and relief organizations need people to help push initiatives through Congress. You can also contact your representative directly.
Donate: Organizations like World Vision do great work globally. In the Middle East, Preemptive Love Coalition serves victims well.