“We still pray. We still sing. We still dream of the day when the birds will return and the flowers and our lost loved ones. We still live with the belief that love and gentleness and faith will blossom forth one day.”
(Salvadoran Refugees to the Guatemalan Refugees) 1992-1996
Concern America’s deep roots began as an organization dedicated to supporting communities with serious needs related to civil unrest, forced migration, and the many challenges that arise from extreme material poverty. Concern America started at a kitchen table in Stockton, CA by two couples (the Fairbrook and O’Farrell families) who were relatives of Holy Ghost missionary priests, Fr. Raymond Kennedy, C.S.Sp., and friends of Fr. Michael Doheny, C.S.Sp. The two families were moved to support the people of Bangladesh as well as the many Bihari refugees (East Pakistanis) who were living in refugee camps.
Displaced from their homes due to violence, civil conflict, or persecution, refugees are forced to find a safe place for themselves and their families. Refugee and internally displaced populations often live in material poverty without access to health care, hygienic living conditions, scarcity of food, and a lack of education and economic opportunities. According to the UNHCR, there are currently 89.3 million people that have been forcibly displaced from their homes.
Over the course of Concern America’s history, we have worked with refugees and displaced communities in Asia, Africa, and throughout the Americas.
As part of our 50th-anniversary reflections, we are sharing below a shortened timeline of some of Concern America’s accompaniment with refugee and displaced communities. Through your support, donations, and purchases of fair trade crafts in our Artisan Marketplace, you have made and continue to make this transformative work possible. Like our Salvadoran refugee sisters and brothers, we too believe that “…love and gentleness and faith will blossom forth one day.”