Photo Courtesy of the Trans-European Division
Belgium | ADRA news, Corrado Cozzi

"A picture is worth a thousand words" is an adage in multiple languages, meaning that complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single still image more effectively than by a mere verbal description.

Borrowing this adage, inspired by Henrik Ibsen, who originally said, "A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed”, ADRA Europe, in partnership with the Children, Youth, and Family Ministries of the Seventh-day Adventists Church in Europe, launched an art contest, themed “Compassion for All”, in order to encourage children, young people, and family members across Europe to use their creativity to support people forced to flee their country.

Worldwide, more than 80 million people have fled their homes to escape conflict and persecution. This is a phenomenon too obvious to be ignored. For this reason, the worldwide Adventist Church designated a Refugees Sabbath closest to International Refugee Day, called by the United Nations, which is celebrated every year on June 20 to commemorate the 1951 adoption of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees by the UN General Assembly.

This year, Refugees Sabbath is June 19 and after five annual editions were organized to open a window to the reality of the refugees who now cross all the earth's latitudes, ADRA Europe decided to hold the art contest, calling on the sensitivity of the youth.

A team headed by ADRA Europe organized the event, inviting children and youth to use their talents and share the message where everyone deserves to be treated with practical kindness, justice, compassion, and love—to live as God intended. And the result was not long in coming.

Many children and youth sent their artwork, depicting the subject of refugees in their own style and category. “I am happy to announce that we have winners of our first art contest”, said Maja Ahac, ADRA Europe director of Advocacy. “Perhaps more could have participated, but in the end, we received pieces of art that move the heart.”

An art contest committee was elected and chose the winners in each of the following categories, including a short text explaining why a winner in each category was selected:

· 5–9 years old

· 10–14 years old

· 15–18 years old

· 19–25 years old

· Families

Finally, the team is organizing an award ceremony on Sabbath, June 19, at 15:30 (BST) or 16:30 (CET). The program will be presented online on the Zoom platform due to the ongoing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic and also be streamed on the ADRA Europe Facebook page.

"We invite everyone to participate in this special program of awarding prizes to those who, with their talents, are raising the awareness of the world of refugees", said Deana Stojoković, Trans-European Division Communication assistant, and Corrado Cozzi, former Inter-European Division Communication director. “Come and see; you will be surprised by the creativity and advocacy of our youngest.”

Who Are Refugees?

Refugees are people who have fled war, violence, conflict, or persecution and crossed an international border to find safety in another country. They often have had to flee with little more than the clothes on their backs, leaving behind homes, possessions, jobs, and loved ones.

These journeys, which all start with the hope for a better future, can also be full of danger and fear. Some people risk falling prey to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Some are detained by the authorities as soon as they arrive in a new country. Once they’re settled in and start building a new life, many face daily racism, xenophobia, and discrimination. Some people end up feeling alone and isolated because they have lost the support networks that most of us take for granted: our communities, colleagues, relatives, and friends.

This article was originally published on the Trans-European Division’s news site