A philatelist from Vasai named Pascal Lopes displayed a collection of 200 stamps from 85 countries on a common theme of refugee-crisis, at the National Philatelic Exhibition 2017 in Mumbai. Almost 70 countries had issued stamps to observe World Refugee Year in 1960.
He started collecting stamps when he got to know that almost 110 countries had issued stamps featuring Mother Teresa even though she had not visited many of them. Mr. Lopes realised that these countries faced refugee crisis and Mother Teresa had influenced people around the world when she worked for refugee children in Israel-Palestine in 1982.
Lopes hopes to create awareness about refugee-crisis through this exhibition. He wants the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to know that philately is a good way to create awareness about refugee-crisis.
Common symbols featured on stamps in his collection are an uprooted tree, sheltering hands etc. Most UN covers also feature these symbols. Themes of Lopes’s collection included ‘refugee flight and escape’, ‘refugee waiting in despair’, ‘refugee protection’ and stamps used for refugee support with overprints and cancellations.
India released a stamp in 1971 to raise funds for the refugees of East Pakistan. It was compulsory to use an additional 5 paisa stamp between 1971 and 1972.