World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights and needs of people fleeing conflict or persecution. The global day, which has been designated by the United Nations, invites people and organisations to direct resources to help the displaced rebuild their lives. Reminding everyone that refugees are just like you and me, with the right to be happy and thrive, these influential allies on Asia’s Most Influential list are sharing their stories and helping them get access to education, employment, and more.
Deborah Henry, Malaysia
In a video shared on Instagram for World Refugee Day, Deborah Henry, co-founder of Fugee School, reminds, “It is non-negotiable. Seeking safety is a human right.” The clip, which features members of the Fugee family, goes on to say: “Whoever they are, wherever they come from, whenever people are forced to flee, they should be treated with dignity.”
Henry has been fighting for refugee rights to safety, education and more since 2009, when she founded the Fugee School. Today, the non-profit organisation provides holistic education, including academic, creative and life skills, for over 200 students each year. In 2019, she established Fugeelah, the jewellery brand that helps support the school and also provides employment to refugee children. She told Tatler, “Beyond just making jewellery, the Fugeelah girls also gain exposure to skills like entrepreneurship, as they sell and interact with customers.”