Life as a refugee anywhere in the world can be extremely tough and a helping hand is required to enable people in these scenarios to rebuild their lives.
Writing in the Guardian recently, expert on the topic Dr Alexander Betts drew attention to the importance of remittances sent by individuals who have fled and are working abroad. These days, it is more straightforward than ever for people to take advantage of fast international money transfer for this purpose.
Dr Betts, who is a lecturer in the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford and director of the Humanitarian Innovation Project, said: “Access to remittances and the diaspora frequently provides the source of capital for entrepreneurship.”
According to the specialist, it is important to ensure that refugees do not get stuck in camps for many years. He pointed out that more than six million of the world’s refugees are in so-called “protracted refugee situations”, with an average length of stay of 17 years.
He pointed to examples such as Somalis in Kenya, Eritreans in Sudan, Sudanese in Chad and Afghans in Iran and Pakistan.
Dr Betts remarked: “The existing humanitarian paradigm can be inefficient. It could fail to make use of the best products and processes available; prove unsustainable, requiring public money to be endlessly channelled into warehousing people; and may lead to dependency.”
Instead, there might be alternative models of refugee protection that draw upon untapped resources or build on refugees’ own skills and entrepreneurship, he claimed.
About this, he said: “Innovation is not about novelty or invention. It is about adapting to context. It is a methodology for change.”
Fast money transfer funds sent by friends and family living and working abroad may help with this process, supplying individuals and communities with the means to pursue their aspirations.