World Refugee Day 2024

World Refugee Day 2024

20.June 2024

The 20th of June 2024 marks World Refugee Day, a day when at RED NOSES, we honour the courage and resilience of those who have faced incredible hardships, finding hope and connection through the power of laughter.

As of today, an alarming 117.3 million people have been forcibly displaced, as reported by the UNHCR, due to conflicts, religious and political persecution, human rights violations, and climate disasters. This figure represents more than 1.3% of the world's population.

This vulnerable group often receives essential aid for survival, such as food and shelter. But what about mental health support, which is equally important for a person's well-being? According to a recent article addressing mental health concerns in refugees, despite posttraumatic stress rates ranging from 4% to 86% and depression rates from 5% to 31%, and the fact that 80–90% of resettled refugees in Europe with psychological problems do not receive mental health services, comprehensive mental health screenings and services remain inadequate. And yet the United Nations declares that mental health is a human right for everyone. 

To address this human right is where RED NOSES International comes in. Through our 11 partner organizations, we constantly strive to initiate and organize artistic activities to respond to both natural and human crises. 

The positive impact of artistic activities such as art, performance and other mind-body initiatives have shown promise as preventive mental health community interventions. (See the impact of art therapy with Syrian refugees).

Over the years, we have undertaken various initiatives across different nations, aiming to address humanitarian crises.

RED NOSES Slovakia

Our Slovakian artists at the Slovakian-Ukraine border in 2022.

Our Croatian artists are visiting a centre for forcibly displaced individuals.

To bring even more attention to this cause, in 2013 we founded our Emergency Smile (ES) programme to address the needs of people facing crisis situations. This programme aims at providing a more immediate responses to crises settings. Through some of our partner organisations, various clown artists come together and are trained to work in these specific settings.

"Today it is a border, but we are everywhere where people need to provide psychological well-being. When people see us, they immediately associate it with a smile. And that is what sometimes causes the opposite emotion in them. They will realize where they are and we will bring them relief, we will allow them to feel what they feel, they can cry, laugh, do whatever they want, we are simply by their side" — Zuzana Gibarti Dancakova (Slovakian RED NOSES Artist)

By prioritising mental health and fostering human connections through laughter, we at RED NOSES International are committed to supporting displaced individuals, helping them regain their sense of dignity and well-being. 

Join us in bringing hope and laughter to those who need it most. Read more about how you can support Emergency Smile missions and make a significant difference in the lives of those who have been displaced.

Together, we can create a world where everyone’s mental health is recognised and nurtured, fulfilling the declaration that mental health is a human right for all.