Central Asia celebrates World Refugee Day 2024 – UNHCR Central Asia
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Central Asia celebrates World Refugee Day 2024 – UNHCR Central Asia

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On June 20 each year, organizations, groups, and communities around the world come together to mark World Refugee Day and celebrate the strength and courage of people forced to flee. With record numbers of people forcibly displaced, World Refugee Day 2024 focused on showing solidarity #WithRefugees. Events and activities were held to pay tribute to refugees, reflect on the challenges they face, and call for solutions to their plight.

In 2024, the following activities and events were organised across Central Asia to mark World Refugee Day:

Kazakhstan

Art Therapy on the Theme of “Solidarity”

UNHCR, Jarqyn KIMEP and Jarqyn NARXOZ organized an art therapy session on the theme of “solidarity” in Almaty, bringing together students from KIMEP and NARXOZ universities, including DAFI refugee fellows, and members of the Jarqyn Project. The aim of the session was to celebrate the strength and courage of people forced to flee, as well as to foster empathy, solidarity and mutual understanding among young people.

Under the guidance of a professional psychologist from the Jarqyn Project, students learned about the rights, needs and dreams of refugees and explored the psychological dimension of solidarity before expressing their interpretations through art.

The session concluded with a sharing of thoughts and meaning behind the diverse artwork, including family, friendship, environmental issues, and women’s rights.

Art Therapy Almaty

Football matches for children and adults

UNHCR Partner, the Red Crescent Society, organized footballS Down children and adults with refugees and the host community in Almaty, promotion community spirit and teamwork.

Ppublic film screenings

UNHCR organized free public screenings of the film “The Swimmers” at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU) in Almaty and the American Corners in Astana. The film is based on the incredible true story of a Syrian refugee – and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador – Yusra Mardiniwho made the perilous journey to Europe when he was just 17, found refuge in Germany and was selected to participate in the inaugural Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Olympic Games.

At KazNU University, the show began with a speech by the acting representative of the UNHCR in Central Asia, Dumitru Liptsanu, and the dean of the Faculty of International Relations of KazNU, Leila Delovarova.

Summer camp for refugee teenagers

NHCR, Red Crescent Society, KazNU and DAFI refugee scholars jointly organized a three-day summer camp “empowerment” for refugee teens in Almaty. The day camp aimed to develop leadership, communication and problem-solving skills in teens while building self-confidence and cultivating a supportive community through teamwork and shared experiences.

The camp included sessions on: leadership and bullying prevention led by Y-PEER; marketing led by Kazakh video content producer Bikhanym Begaly; entrepreneurship led by KIMEP Entrepreneurship Club; and financial education led by KazNU professor Aida Erimpasheva; as well as outdoor games, workshops on healthy habits, and creating a shared visualization board of dreams and goals.

On the last day, two successful women – Asma Rabi, Afghan journalist living in the UK and Mohadese Sameem, tFirst Afghan female pilot – shares her motivating stories with teenagers.

The summer camp, held on the KazNU campus, reflected the university’s commitment to achieving the goals of Quality Education (SDG4), Good Health and Well-being (SDG3) and ensuring that no one is left behind in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Summer camp

Kyrgyz Republic

Exhibition and public film screening

With the support of the Refugee Youth Group, UNHCR organised a photo exhibition and a free film screening at the National Historical Museum of the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek.

The event was attended by representatives from Parliament, the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Migration, Justice, Home Affairs, Emergencies, Education and Science, UN agencies and development partners to honour the resilience and determination of refugees around the world.

The event was hosted by two young women from the Refugee Youth Group, and welcome speeches were given by: Head of the Refugee Department at the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Migration Zhumabek Myrzabaev, UN Permanent Coordinator in the Kyrgyz Republic Antje Grawe, and Head of the UNHCR Country Office in the Kyrgyz Republic Elena Guseva.

Tajikistan

Exhibition “The Power of Resilience”

The UNHCR-created Power of Resilience exhibition showcased 10 individual, meaningful objects brought by refugees when they were forced to flee their homes. Each object was accompanied by a story in Tajik and English, offering insight into their life experiences.

I am here in Tajikistan, getting an education. But my friend and all the girls at home can’t even go to school. This box holds more than just jewelry. It reminds me how lucky I am, how precious it is that I can study,” she says. Sherzad Marjon, a refugee from Afghanistan, on the jewelry box a friend gave him before he left the country.

The photo exhibition further enriched their stories, strengthening the deeper human connection to the refugee journey.

Exhibition in Tajikistan

Futsal competition

UNHCR partnered with the Tajik Football Federation to organize the Solidarity Cup futsal competition at the Vahdat Youth Center. Fifty teenagers, including 10 girls, formed 10 teams to participate in the tournament. In addition, 40 children took part in the OFARIN relay race, where participants received prizes and enjoyed music and dance organized by the UNHCR partner “Refugees, children and citizens at risk” ((RCVC Branch).

Futsal in Tajikistan

Since January 2024, Central Asia has been hosting 7636 refugees and 3,075 asylum seekersmainly from Afghanistan. On World Refugee Day 2024, amplifier the need was highlighted throughout the subregion enabling, enablinggetting in refugees the opportunity to gain an education, provide for their families and make friends with their neighbours; possibilities, so that refugees can develop and contribute to the development of the communities that welcome them; AND room, so they can return home safely.