On Thursday, Church Newsroom announced that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is donating $6 million to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist nearly 85,000 African refugees in Chad, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Both the Church and the U.S. have been engaged in over 30 years of donating to the UNHCR.

“We’re grateful for our longstanding relationship with USA for UNHCR,” said the Church’s Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé. “UNHCR’s efforts to help those in need find safety and shelter align with our mission to love God and love our neighbor. We pray that those who have been displaced by this conflict will find comfort and hope.”

On April 23, General President of the Relief Society, Camille N. Johnson, met with a delegation from the USA for UNHCR at Temple Square, including their Executive Director and CEO, Suzanne Ehlers, who has led the USA for UNHCR for 15 months.

Executive Director and CEO

Executive Director and CEO, Suzanne Ehlers, met with the General Relief Society Presidency. Photo credit: Church Newsroom & Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“The contribution means a lot,” Ehlers said. “It means that we can service and be present in some of the most critical emergencies around the world that, quite frankly, are not in the headlines, the places where people are suffering.”

According to Johnson, about 80% of the worlds refugees are women and children.

“We know that when you bless a woman, you bless a family. When you bless a child, you bless the future, you bless generations,” Johnson said. “Our efforts and our focus have been on these global needs of women and children. And it’s through collaborations with these kinds of organizations that we can do the most good.”

According to Church Newsroom, The Church has participated in 109 projects in many countries with the U.S. for UNHCR, which is present in over 130 countries. In 2023, 4,119 humanitarian projects helped people in 191 countries and territories.

“It’s nice to walk into a collaborative effort with such a rich history,” Ehlers said. “It shows to me a longstanding commitment to meet the needs of those who are most vulnerable around the world. My job is to meet with, and learn from, and be curious about desires and values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to see that we can manifest those in our programs supporting refugees around the world.”

After World War II, the UNHCR was established to help the millions of Europeans who had lost and fled from their homes. Today, the UNHCR serves as a global organization, dedicating its mission to protecting refugees, delivering lifesaving assistance, safeguarding fundamental human rights and developing solutions to ensure refugees have a safe place to call home.

More than 50 million refugees have been able to rebuild their lives thanks to the efforts of the UNHCR. They continue serving refugees globally in over 130 countries.

The humanitarian efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints relieve suffering, foster self-reliance and provide service opportunities.

The Church’s 2023 humanitarian summary included more than $1.3 billion in expenditures, 6.2 million hours volunteered and 4,119 humanitarian projects in 191 countries and territories. This is made possible by the generous donations and volunteerism of Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith.

According to the Church‘s website, aid is based on the core principles of personal responsibility, community support, self-reliance and sustainability.