Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/ADRA/Refugee Resettlement

Refugee Resettlement
General Conference
Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 2005

1. Be at least in the 8th grade.


If you attend school outside the North American Division or under a different structure, this is equivalent to being in the grade that most 13 year-olds are in.

2. Explain why refugees from other countries arrive in your nation. What are the causes and what governmental authorities must certify each case before the individual or family is allowed to travel?


The 1951 Refugee Convention spells out that a refugee is someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country."

Refugees are different from migrants. Migrants, especially economic migrants, choose to move to other countries in search of better economic or educational opportunities for themselves or their families. Refugees flee from their home countries save their lives or preserve their freedom. They have no protection from their own country. In fact, it is often their own government that is threatening to persecute them. If other countries do not welcome them, and help them, then they may be condemning them to death - or to an intolerable life without the ability to survive and without rights. Poverty does not make a person a refugee. Persecution does.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is the primary initial screening organization determining refugee status. Once an individual or family has passed the UNHCR screening and been verified as having refugee status, the case is open for countries that resettle refugees to consider the case and conduct an interview. Some of these countries also have alternate routes to refugee status, but the primary route is UNHCR referral.

Of the more than 14 million refugees of concern to UNHCR around the world, less than one per cent is submitted for resettlement. As of 2015, 28 countries participate in UNHCR's resettlement program. The United States is the world's top resettlement country, while Australia, Canada and the Nordic countries also resettle significant numbers of refugees annually. However, while the United States resettles a significantly higher total number of refugees than any other country, Australia and Canada resettle more refugees per capita than the United States.

Each country has its own government entity for processing refugee cases for resettlement. Here are a few:

  - In the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Refugee Processing Center processes refugee cases.
  - In Canada, The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) makes decisions about refugee claims. 
  - In Australia, the Immigration Department determines which refugee cases are accepted for resettlement.

(For this honor, be able to name the government entity that processes refugee cases in your country.)

3. List the immediate needs that a refugee has when they arrive in your country. Describe the feelings that the refugee may have about a new language, culture and environment.


Needs: shelter will be the first, then water, clothing, food, and possibly medical attention.

It can be overwhelming to come to a place where language and culture vary so much from your own. During an already stressful period of having to abandon all that you know, entering a strange land may cause some individuals under such stress to need a great deal of social assistance to gain control over their emotions.

Environmental changes can be anything from a strange place to sleep to a geographically dynamic change. As above, stress can be emotionally overwhelming and those socio-cultural differences must be attended to. Among these can be the change of "home environment," having lost your home and now having to dwell in some form of shelter or housing not known to you before. Geographic changes can be a harsh physical barrier: those from areas normally wet have trouble adjusting to dry seasons. Consistently different temperatures can cause illness as well. For such matters medical professionals are needed to help gain control over physical illnesses that arise.

4. Find out about the organizations in your community that assist refugees and immigrants. Use the telephone or visit the office of at least one such organization and ask how they would assist if your local church were to cosponsor a newly-arrived refugee with ADRA or Adventist Community Services.


In the United States, you can visit the Refugee Processing Center web site to find a list of State, Federal, and volunteer organizations who assist refugees.

In New Zealand, visit the RMS Refugee Resettlement web site.

Visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada for information in Canada.

In the United Kingdom, try the Information Center about Asylum and Refugees (ICAR).

For Australia, visit The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA).

If you know of an organization for a country not listed here, please add it. You can find them by using an Internet search engine with the terms "Refugee resettlement" and your country of interest.

5. Write a plan of at least 500 words describing the arrangements that your local church could make if it were the cosponsor with ADRA or Adventist Community Services for a refugee arriving in your community.


You can contact Xtreme Youth Resources International for a sample plan. We will work to having posted directly here.

6. Interview a person who immigrated to your country. Ask them about the contrast between the culture in your community and the community where they were raised. Ask them to describe the process they went through to become comfortable in your community. Take notes during the interview.


Note that there is no requirement for the person you interview to be a refugee. You can meet this requirement by interviewing any person who has moved to your country.

Most people are proud of their heritage, and even though an immigrant has left his or her homeland, they are likely to still be very fond of their place of birth. Because of this, it is very important that you check your attitude. Do not go in thinking that your interviewee is glad to be away from some dismal wasteland and isn't he glad to be in your obviously superior country. While he may have left a dismal situation, he will likely still long to return there - that's home to him. Be mindful of this possibility.

7. Give a report of at least 10 minutes duration to a Sabbath School program, Pathfinder Club, church committee, or civic club on what you have discovered in completing the requirements for this honor. Tell why the refugee situation is so important and make specific recommendations to the group of ways in which they can help meet the needs of refugees.


This report should be given before any concerned or potentially involved group you have access to. You should remember (as when giving any report) to include proper acknowledgement for those resources you gathered information from. If possible, when giving information of such education to a group, make copies of your outline and any charts, posters, or pictures you used to give as handouts to attendees.



Today nations having too often dedicated themselves to political correctness rather than service have turned to calling many internal refugees "displaced citizens." A displaced citizen is in fact a refugee; often this refugee is seeking refuge from natural disaster or man-made disasters other than war.


  • Refugee Ministry in the Local Congregation by J. Ronald Mummert with Jeff Bach, Herald Press, Scottsdale, Pennsylvania (1992)
  • Chapter entitled "Refugee and Immigration Assistance" in Ministries of Compassion (Second edition) by Monte Sahlin, AdventSource, Lincoln, Nebraska (1998)