Western Union Stands With Refugees

Newsroom By Christine Wardlaw September 23, 2016

The Global Humanitarian Crisis:  A Personal View

Living in France, I have been closely watching the conflict in the eastern part of Europe unfold for several months.  I also have the honor of leading customer relationship management and corporate social responsibility for a global company, whose purpose-driven mission is to help create better lives for the people and communities it serves, so this particular crisis hits home personally and professionally.

However, it wasn’t until a recent visit to Turkey that I truly realized the magnitude of humanitarian crisis and the impact it is having not only across world.  More importantly, the experience on the ground truly hit home, that this crisis is human.  That it is impacting men, women and children in a way I never truly believed until I experienced it first-hand.

I observed heart-wrenching scenes of sadness in children’s eyes, crying mothers and people who couldn’t even perform simple life tasks many take for granted.  Families were divided – between those who decided to flee out of harm’s way, and those who felt compelled to stay and safeguard their family and property.  Opportunities for education, employment and economic opportunity were scarce.

When I returned home, I reflected again on those who I had met and interacted with.  I remember the look I received when asking them how they plan to get on with their lives. Their faces alone spoke of horror, struggle, fear and uncertainty.  This was the reality of being a refugee.

When we hear of natural disasters or crisis such as this, our society has a tendency to come together.  Fortunately, I am part of an organization that possesses a truly, purpose-driven mission – to help make the lives better for our customers in the more than 200 countries and territories for which we serve.

Here at Western Union, our customers truly are heroes.  There’s no doubt many of them have been directly impacted by this crisis.  In the face of despair, it gives me solace to know that this organization is truly committed to support refugees by providing education, employment and enablement.

Our employees are embracing the cause and helping find ways Western Union can leverage its assets and strengths to be part of sustainable solutions.  We also are pursuing alliances with our NGO partners to optimize programs that provide refugees with opportunities to participate in the global economy.

In many parts of the world where refugees have sought asylum, it is difficult for them to access financial services. Yet financial inclusion is critical to participation in local and global economies. Western Union is uniquely positioned to efficiently and effectively serve the financial needs of refugees through its global network of Agent locations, cross-border money transfer platform, FinTech and innovation.

Corporate social responsibility has to go beyond just grants to leverage assets that address global issues such as this crisis.  I am proud my organization is leading the way to embrace solutions to this crisis. I ask that you join me and others in the journey to help those who need it most. Learn more about our efforts.