Iraqi woman

World Refugee Week

World Refugee Week is celebrated every year to honour the resilience of refugees worldwide.

Get inspired by women refugees whose courage, strength and hope enable them to rise above their circumstances and not only heal but to rebuild.

You are here:

World Refugee Week

Published on


A record number of people have been forced to flee their homes

1 in 5 refugee or internally displaced women have faced sexual violence

114 million people forcibly displaced worldwide due to conflict and insecurity

70% of displaced people live in areas affected by hunger crises

The power to rebuild

Honouring the strength and resilience of women refugees

World Refugee Day on 20th June and World Refugee Week (17th-23rd June) are marked every year to honour the strength and resilience of refugees around the world.

As increasing numbers of people are forced to flee their homes, conflict and instability serve as the main driving force behind most of the world's food crises. As a result, millions of people facing the overwhelming challenge of rebuilding their lives following displacement must also navigate the threat of hunger. 

This harmful combination of crises is felt around the world, but it is women and girls who are particularly affected. At greater risk of being subjected to exploitation, trafficking and sexual and gender-based violence - the challenges women refugees face are immense.

Scroll to find out how you can join our #ServingUpSisterhood campaign and celebrate the resilience of refugee women through the unifying power of food.
Apron and beaded coasters
For a limited time, we'll send you an apron or set of beaded coasters handmade by women affected by conflict when you become a Stand With Her Supporter.

As she's forced to flee, will you Stand With Her?

Receive a free apron or beaded coasters

You have the power to support women affected by conflict as they heal from the trauma of war and build brighter futures for themselves and their families. For a limited time only, we'll send you a FREE Women for Women International apron when you become a Stand With Her Sister Supporter or a set of beautiful beaded coasters when you become a Stand With Her Classroom Supporter - both handmade by women affected by conflict.

A group of women cooking together.
Explore new cuisines and culinary traditions with our online toolkit featuring recipes from women we serve. Photo credit: Charles Atiki Lomodong.

Recipes from displaced women

Download a world of flavours

Download our e-cookbook to discover delicious recipes shared by some of the women we support and read their stories of displacement. Each dish is a testament to the power of community, cultural heritage and an inspiring drive to find light amidst the destruction of war and conflict.

Panel event - photographs of Payvand Seyedali, Laurie Adams and Aram Shakerm.
Join us on Thursday, 20th June at 6pm BST to learn more about our work supporting women displaced by conflict. Photo credit: Women for Women International.

World Refugee Day Panel Event

celebrating the courageous lives of women displaced by conflict

On Thursday, 20th June at 6pm (BST), join our virtual panel event to hear from Aram Shakerm and Payvand Seyedali, our Country Directors in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively about the compounding impacts of conflict and displacement.

The panellists will discuss the challenges and achievements of displaced women in Iraq and Afghanistan and how our work provides a pathway for women in these contexts to rebuild their lives. 

Women cooking together.
You could be in with a chance of winning a £150 voucher by taking part in our competition! Photo credit: Charles Atiki Lomodong.

Enter our social media competition

For refugees, small things like a recipe passed down from generation to generation are powerful reminders of their identity and belonging. 

Help us raise awareness about the refugee experience and celebrate the things we have in common by taking part in our social media competition. Post a photograph of a meal that reminds you of your home on Instagram or Facebook, tag us (@womenforwomenuk and @womenforwomen) and use the hashtag #ServingUpSisterhood to be in with a chance of winning a £150 voucher for a store near you. For each post, £1 will go towards our work with women survivors of war and conflict. Terms and conditions apply.

Seve, a refugee woman from Iraq, and her family.
Nearly 260,000 Syrian refugees reside in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), each carrying the trauma of their flight while struggling to find basic accommodation and food on dwindling resources or debt. Photo credit: Alison Baskerville.

5 facts about what refugee women face

Gender specific challenges of the refugee experience

Refugee women and girls face specific challenges that make them even more vulnerable at times of displacement including discrimination, psychosocial trauma, sexual and gender-based violence and risk of human trafficking. 

Learn more

Shocking statistics and clickbait headlines perpetuate damaging stereotypes about refugees. By unpicking common myths and misconceptions, we increase our understanding and are better placed to help refugees heal and rebuild their lives.


In 2018, Leila's village in Damascus, Syria was bombed, killing two of her children and injuring her daughter so badly that she still struggles to walk properly today. Despite their injuries, Leila and her daughter made the difficult to decision to leave their home and seek asylum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. In the face of immense grief, Leila knew that she needed to move forward for the sake of her family.



As the global refugee crisis has reaches a record high, it is crucial now more than ever to understand the obstacles facing refugees. This World Refugee Week, we have put together a list of seven must-see movies that provide an insight into the refugee experience and their powerful stories of survival.


In recent years, refugee literature has provided a way of educating the public about the truth behind the refugee experience. Women for Women International believes that knowledge is power, so check out our World Refugee Day Reading List to grow your awareness and understanding of the refugee experience for your own personal reading and to share with others.


In Mariupol, Olga sang pop and folk music with her group, Melody, who made it onto Ukrainian X-Factor and her husband was the Head of Mariupol’s orchestra. When war broke out, Olga made the perilous journey across the border to Poland with her son, Max, and her parents. Her husband stayed behind in Ukraine.  


Meet six incredible refugee women - from Syrian activist Waad al-Kateab to actress and singer Marlene Dietrich - who have used their power to make a difference.