Refugee Camp in the City set for June 20th

Giving visitors a first-hand glimpse of what life in a refugee camp would be like, The Refugee Camp in the City is set for June 20th on the Central School grounds.

The event features an outdoor reconstruction of a refugee camp where volunteers work alongside refugees and guide visitors through a 30- to 40-minute interactive tour explaining keys to survival in a refugee crisis. It runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitors will also learn about some of the challenges refugees face in trying to get access water, food, shelter and medical care. There are a number of features to the exhibit including registration, a shelter area, a food distribution area, water supply, a health clinic, family reunification, education, employment/training and information on local agencies including C.A.R.E. (Central Alberta Refugee Effort) and Catholic Social Services.

It’s all a part of commemorating World Refugee Day which was spearheaded by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), as well as raising awareness about the plight of the world’s millions of refugees and internally displaced people uprooted by war and conflict.

The UNHCR was set up in 1951 to help the estimated one million people still uprooted after World War II to return home. Since then, the organization has helped find solutions for tens of millions of refugees.

The latest figures available show the number of refugees of concern to UNHCR stood at 10.5 million at the beginning of 2011, down slightly from a year earlier.

A further 4.8 million registered refugees are looked after in some 60 camps in the Middle East by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which was set up in 1949 to care for displaced Palestinians.

Refugees are spread around the world with more than half in Asia and some 20% in Africa. According to the UNHCR web site, they live in varying conditions from well-established camps and collective centres to makeshift shelters or out in the open.

Meanwhile, local students and the general public are encouraged to attend Refugee Camp in the City which is co-sponsored by the Central Alberta Refugee Effort and Catholic Social Services.

Other tables set up at the event will be occupied by local representatives such as A Better World, Cause Canada, the Light and Leadership Project, the Red Cross and students in different disciplines at Red Deer College.

For further information, contact Jan Underwood at 403-346-8818 or email