World Refugee Day fundraiser in downtown

Children playing in an Afghan refugee camp. PHOTOS COURTESY OF LINDA KELSEY-JONES

"We Are Children"

“We Are Children,” a stunning photographic exhibit of refugee children by Kambiz Shabankare, will be on exhibit for sale at downtown’s newest gallery, The Good Stuff Community Store, 173 S. LBJ, from June 22-30. The public is invited to an opening event and reception Thursday, June 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.  The event is a local commemoration of World Refugee Day on June 20. Americans and concerned citizens around the world celebrate this day in a wide range of public awareness activities. One-hundred percent of proceeds from the sale of the photographs, available in a variety of sizes, will be donated to Refugee Services of Texas.  

World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 4, 2000, by adopting resolution 55/76 which noted that 2001 marked the 50 anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, based on Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries and to enjoy rights and benefits in a state in addition to those provided for in the Convention. 

The US and world are currently in the midst of a global humanitarian crisis. While it is nearly impossible to establish how many refugees there are in the world at any given time, a report issued on Feb. 17, 2016, by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that roughly 65.3 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes. The United Nations estimates that 50 million of those people are under the age of 18.  

A child in an Afghan refugee camp in Tehran, Iran in 2007.

The shear numbers have stretched receiving countries’ resources– monetary, emotional, social and political. Caught between domestic needs and worries about terrorism, government solutions are too often neither sufficient nor always humane. Recent US political decisions have severely restricted ingress of refugees from some of the most life endangering countries and have cut funds to support services, leaving families stranded and supportive non-governmental organizations scrambling for funds.  

Photographer and filmmaker Shabankare, a second generation Russian refugee to Iran and then a refugee from Iran, will speak of his own experiences as a refugee and how he felt “obligated” to create his photographic project “We are Children” inspired by a five-year-old Afghan girl named Zahra. 

Megan Byrne, in charge of development for Refugee Services of Texas, will speak about their programs, services and participants. Representatives from the Local organization Mano Amiga will also share their aims to provide educational resources for the immigrant community in San Marcos.  

Light refreshments will be served.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666