Money, war, and climate. It's why some people are coming to a country near you.
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The Atlantic Philanthropies

Moving isn't fun. Honestly, it sucks. Squeezing your life into a handful of boxes can be trying for even the most organized person. But imagine if you were forced to move.

Like right now. No notice. No calling the homies to help pack up. No farewell bash. What if you were just pushed out of your house, your neighborhood, your city, your state, and your country? Then what?


Well, that happens to lots of people all of the time while we're calmly sipping on our lattes. Why?

According to a recent report from AJ+, at least 232 million people globally live in nations where they weren't born in or aren't citizens of. Host Dena Takruri breaks down why folks are leaving their homes. There are three main reasons.

Because it's scary out there — yo!

The ongoing presence of war and persecution is the main factor. It's done more than physical damage. It's really emotional too. People have to leave everything and sometimes everyone they know in the name of safety. Right now, the largest refugee communities are from Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Smaller nations like Pakistan, Kenya, and Lebanon are taking these folks in. Dena says that in Lebanon almost 1 in 5 people is a Syrian refugee and that their "infrastructure and economy have been pushed to the breaking point." Wow.


Although larger nations have only taken in 14% of the world's refugees, they do have better-paying jobs.

The lack of economic resources is another reason why people escape their homelands legally or illegally. When a country like the U.S. has jobs that offer six times the pay in your country, potentially risking your life to feed your starving family may feel like the only option. Oftentimes these economic opportunities aren't the ones that everyone wants. Lots of migrants work heinous hours and make way below minimum wage. And that's not just in the U.S. "In the United Arab Emirates, Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis make up 90% of the work force, despite poor working conditions, unfair treatment and low wages," Dena explains.

If you're lucky enough to side step war or a busted economy, you're favored if you don't have to leave your country because of the environment.

Natural disasters have displaced thousands upon thousands. Climate change is also very real and affecting people in a major way. “In Tuvalu, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific, rising sea levels are forcing people to move to nearby countries like New Zealand," Dena adds.

So, sure, moving voluntarily can irk, but it doesn't compare to the serious pain of having to uproot your life due to mostly uncontrollable factors. I wonder what would happen if we all thought about these things before judging someone else's perceived right to live on the same soil.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.