Recently Reuters told the story of Aisa, an elderly refugee from the war in Bosnia (1992-1995). She and 74 other elderly refugees live in Slovenia and are just a few of the more then 32 million people in the world uprooted from their homes and forced to start again somewhere else.

Bosnian Refugee in Slovenia

Aisa’s situation highlights the unique challenges of this special needs population in times of crisis. She and the other refugees in the community have found it difficult to assimilate into Slovenian society. The linguistic and cultural barriers make finding a job and meeting new people next to impossible. So they spend time visiting doctors, watching TV and drinking coffee with each other. The Slovenia government has done its best to make them feel welcome. As 84-year-old Osman said, “We have never been better in worse times.”

Groups of elderly refugees are living on the margins of society all across Europe. IAHSA would like to hear stories of how your organization is working with this special population. How might the global community help our elders in times of crisis?

To learn more about the unique situation facing elderly refugees visit the UN High Commission for Refugees. Or visit the Web site Forced Migration Online for a list of reports and research relating to the situation of older refugees.

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