Christmas Lunch with Refugees: Seven Unforgettable Encounters

12 June 2024

We have been implementing the initiative “Christmas Lunch with Refugees” with UNHCR Croatia since 2016, promoting unity, solidarity, and connection between refugees and the local community.

From December 21, 2023, to January 13, 2024, special stories of unity, joy, and friendship unfolded. The “Christmas Lunch with Refugees” initiative brought seven unforgettable encounters, where families from different parts of the world shared their stories, culture, and holiday spirit with their hosts.

The gatherings were marked by warmth and openness, both from the hosts and their guests. All hosts expressed the desire to stay in touch with their guests and provide support in their further integration. They demonstrated a genuine desire for understanding and acceptance of their new neighbors. Each of the seven encounters was like a unique story, written in the colors of different cultures, languages, and experiences. Families from various parts of the world shared not only the table but also fragments of their lives. Through stories of courage, hope, and dreams, an opportunity arose to build bridges among people and communities.

Children particularly touched and delighted us with their play, songs, and holding hands. Once again, they showed us how openness and acceptance quickly erase all differences, opening the doors to joy and unity. On the other hand, the youth brought knowledge and maturity into conversations about a world marked by conflicts. They shared with us the challenges they’ve faced but also their positive perspectives and determination to contribute to improving their environment. Adults, like the Bratulić family, concluded: “Once again, the truth has been confirmed that we are all similar; we all want the same things – peace, health, a secure place to live, an opportunity for meaningful work, education, and a future for our children.”

We are confident that these encounters were more than ordinary gatherings; they became a place where diverse destinies intertwine, creating a mosaic of diversity, tolerance, and unity. We will continue with this initiative, grateful and blessed with the new friendships we have made, and inspired to further promote the fundamental Christian values of love for God and neighbor.