COVID-19 and Migration


Section 1: Loving Minds and Caring Hands: Displaced People Building Compassionate Communities During COVID-19

Loving Minds and Caring Hands

Displaced People Building Compassionate Communities During COVID-19 

Venezuelan refugee Juan Batista Ramos plays guitar in front of a mural he painted at the Tancredo Neves temporary shelter in Boa Vista, Brazil to help lift COVID-19 quarantine blues.  “Now, everywhere you look you will see a landscape to remind us that there is beauty in the world,” he says. Photo: UNHCR/Allana Ferreira

At a time when people feel estranged from each other and their communities because of COVID-19, refugees and asylum seekers seek to bridge this gap by extending compassion to their communities and newfound homes. They make their resilience known through their skills—sewing, medicine, engineering—that were developed in their countries of origin and/or through their migration. These skills are a labor of survival and of care. Their acts of kindness showcase ingenuity and the desire to become part of

It would be negligent to not acknowledge the narratives of human rights violations that migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers face throughout this pandemic—inadequate quarantining and social distancing conditions, medical care, and resources. This section merely provides one piece of the refugee, asylum seeker, and COVID-19 narrative, with the intention to foreground migrant agency and action. However, this is not without its own struggle. As seen in the many of the narratives below, refugees and asylum seekers continue their battles even once they have resettled or begun integrating into a community. They engage in the practice of creating home and belonging, away from everything familiar. This seemingly simple concept of home is complicated with the burdens and regulations that come with displacement. It is a constant work in progress to feel valued, part of, and at home. 

Homemaking and Belonging

“Meet the refugees keeping people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” (Read the article,, June 11, 2020)

A Work in Progress

Warm Hands, Seeing Vulnerability

Brilliant Minds, Easing Hearts

Compiled by Angie Diaz (Summer 2020)

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