7 Reasons Why Learning About Refugees Is Important

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Many people are aware of the world’s refugee crises through the news and social media. However, not many people have a deep understanding of human displacement, it’s impact of both refugees and host communities, what assistance is needed and how they can help.

It’s important to learn about refugees because millions of people are displaced around the world. Refugee numbers are also increasing as wars, disasters and climate change impact people. It’s also important people learn about the positives affects refugees can have on host communities.

That’s just an overview. We’ve broken down the main reasons why it’s important everyone learns about refugees…

There Are Millions of Refugees in The World Today

The first reason why it is important to learn about refugees is that there are millions of displaced people in the world today. According to UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, there are currently 26 million refugees globally. Learning about how this came about, the experiences of refugees and how to help them is vitally important.

With so many refugees in the world – the most since World War Two, it’s crucial to understand human displacement. Millions of people around the world are currently refugees and so its important people learn about what it is like being displaced, how assistance can be provided and what can be done to help refugees return home.

Learning about refugees is hugely important because we need people to know how so many people in the world today can be displaced. Gaining knowledge of the true scale of the current refugee crises is crucial to understanding the world today.

Refugees Can Have A Huge Positive Impact

When people are displaced from their homes by war, crises or disasters they take their skills and experiences with them. Many refugees go on to be hugely beneficial to their host countries. Learning about the achievements and impact refugees can have on the places they move to is hugely important.

A big reason why learning about refugees is important, and especially the positive affects refugees can have on the communities that host them, is that it helps to change the narrative around displaced people. Many people have a negative view of refugees, but often fail to know that hosting refugee can be hugely beneficial.

Many people don’t know, but some hugely famous people that have had massive impacts of our societies were refugees. These include Albert Einstein, Freddie Mercury, Sigmund Freud and Bob Marley. Learning about the impact these refugees, and many others, have had on the societies that took them in is really important and can help change people’s perceptions of refugees.

Refugees and Migration Online Courses

If you are interested in learning more about refugees and migration, we highly recommend the Sciences Po International Migration: A Global Issue course. We think it’s the best online short course offering an overview of the issues facing displaced people and the communities that host them. Follow the link to the course’s page.

Another online short course on refugees and migration we highly recommend is the University of Glasgow’s Interpreting for Refugees: Contexts, Practices and Ethics. It looks at both the theory and practice of assisting refugees and migrants. The link is to the course’s page with more information.

The University of Glasgow also offers an online short course on Working Supportively With Refugees. Students on the course learn the principles, skills, and perspectives needed to provide assistance to those forced to flee their homes. Click the link to go to the course’s page.

There Are Refugees in Your Community

Another reason why it is important to learn about refugees is that there are displaced people living in almost every community. With millions of refugees worldwide, most communities will have a number of people who have migrated there to escape poverty, conflict or disasters. You never know, many people you meet every day may have moved to your town as refugees.

It is vital that more people understand human displacement, how it affects people and how countries assist refugees. This is especially true as refugees are hosted in almost every society and people are actually likely to come into contact with refugees often. Having an understanding of the refugee experience is important for better community integration.

Although many people think of refugees living in camps in far of countries like Turkey, Lebanon or Kenya, actually millions of refugees are hosted by richer nations too. Countries such as France, the UK, Germany and the USA all host hundreds of thousands or millions of refugees and these people live among the communities there. It’s really important people learn about refugees to better understand some of the people living in their own societies.

Displaced People Need Our Help

Refugees and people displaced by war, disasters and poverty need our assistance. It’s important we learn about refugees so that we can help them better, be that in countries that are hosting them or our own communities. It’s crucial we have the right knowledge so as to help refugees effectively.

Often when people are forced from their homes, they leave with almost nothing. Refugees also arrive in new countries with often little possessions, not speaking the language and in a new culture to them. It’s important we learn about refugees so that we can assist them, especially whilst they establish themselves and begin to help themselves.

Although there are many international organisations that work with refugees, there are also many grassroot NGOs that help displaced people all over the world. Learning about refugees gives us a better understanding of what these organisations do, and how we can support them.

There Is A Lot of False Information

Sadly, there is a lot false information and negative views given about refugees. An important reason why people need to learn about forced displacement, its causes, impacts and the experiences of those affected is to be able to counter these false narratives. Getting accurate information about refugees is important for all societies that host them.

Another reason it is vital to learn about displaced people is that refugees can often be used as scapegoats by politicians and the media. As an outside in any society, and often without many formal rights, refugees are easily blamed for many events they are not actually linked too. It’s important more people learn about refugees to prevent their continued scapegoating.

Many people actually know very little about refugees, apart from what they see in the media or read online. It’s crucial that more people learn about real refugee experiences, the benefits refugees can bring to their host communities and the assistance refugees need to be able to return home.

More People Are Being Displaced Than Ever

A really important reason why learning about refugees is important is that more people are being displaced than ever before. There are more refugees in the world today than there has been since World War Two and as conflicts, poverty and crises spread, even more people will become displaced. Sadly, refugee numbers are only growing and this means learning about human displacement is vital.

It’s also really important that people learn about refugees because in the next decades it is projected refugee numbers could increase hugely. As climate change makes many parts of the would unliveable, people are going to be displaced in massive numbers. We need to learn about refugees and human displacement now so that we can better assist future climate refugees.

As numbers of refugees in the world, both in poorer countries and in Western nations, increases, it becomes even more important that people understand refugee issues. Refugees have rights that need to be protected. The more people learn about human displacement the more we can collectively advocate for these rights, both at home and abroad.

It Builds Empathy

The final, and almost most important reason, why people should learn about refugees is that it builds empathy. It’s crucial we have some understanding of the pain, trauma and suffering many refugees have been through. By learning about refugees and building empathy with displaced people, we are better able to help them.

As refugee numbers around the world continue to grow, and are projected to increase hugely in the coming decades, we need to ensure that refugee issues are not seen as abstract. Refugees live in communities among us, as well as in far off camps. Learning about human displacement allows us to understand what these people may have been through, and perhaps the role our own countries have played.

Many of us are lucky to live in societies unaffected by conflict, disasters and poverty. It is vital that we do not ignore the suffering and plight of many refugees around the world. The more we learn about refugees the less we see them as statistics and can begin to see the human side of forced displacement. Learning about refugees is hugely important if we’re going to help people made to flee their homes.

If you want know more about migration issues, and why learning about refugees is important, head over to our page listing the top refugee and migration online courses here.


Duncan is the founder of Humanitarian Careers. With over ten years experience in the aid industry across fifteen countries, Duncan set-up Humanitarian Careers to help people launch their own career in international aid.