I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have joined forces with some bloggers to raise awareness regarding refugees. Before you get the wrong idea and think I am some sort of saint – I am doing close to zero to help refugees. I’m currently sat on the sofa in my warm house. I have food in my belly, I have a car, I have running water, a wardrobe full of clothes, my three boys are tucked away in their beds upstairs, I’ve had a little browse on Asos and I feel like such a hypocrite, but the refugee crisis is something I think about every single day. It really bothers me and I can’t stop thinking – ‘What if it was me?’ and then I realise I need to be doing more.
The refugee crisis isn’t going to go away. In fact, it has never gone away, it has always been there – somewhere in the world. People fleeing their homes, running from tragedy, looking for somewhere safe. I believe there needs to be a more humane global response to the refugee crisis, children need to be safeguarded, families need to be kept together, refugees need to feel safe, looked after and cared for. They need to feel human, and there are so many ways we can help.
This is a post to come back to; so you can read the links, watch the videos, do some research and process the information. It would also be amazing if you could share it on social media to raise even more awareness – thank you in advance!
Want to find out more? Here are some great resources:
- Exodus – A documentary following refugees, filmed with camera phones. They filmed where production teams couldn’t.
- People are amazing – A short documentary following the work of volunteers in the Calais Jungle
- The Unofficial Women & Children’s Centre – watch this video.
- The Independent’s stream on the refugee crisis
- The Guardian’s stream on the refugee crisis
- 8 ways to solve the world’s refugee crisis
- Top 20 facts about refugees and asylum seekers
Where are refugees from?
How can you help?
Donate money – this is truly the best way to help. It allows organisations that are working on the front line to meet exact demands. Cal Aid, Oxfam, Amnesty and British Red Cross are all working very closely with refugees.
PAFRAS (Positive Action for Refugees & Asylum Seekers) – I’ve mentioned PAFRAS before. It is a charity in Leeds that will be collecting the below items ‘forever’ (their words, not mine):
- Food items – tinned tomatoes, vegetables, fish and fruit, baked beans, tinned beans, pulses and chickpeas, rice, pasta, sugar, tea bags, tinned rice pudding, vegetable oil, cereal bars.
- Hygiene items – toilet rolls, shower gel, shampoo, deoderant, sanitary towels, tampons, toothpaste, toothbrushes, safety razors, soap, washing powder tablets, new underwear, new socks, baby nappies.
Buy a t-shirt – to show your support. All profits will be donated.
Have a clear out – there are collections for everything from toys, baby clothes to food, blankets and tents.
Buy a book – Clever Fox Press is a small, non-profit publisher, authoring, producing and distributing childrens’ books which introduce important social and scientific concepts. All proceeds from the sale of books are donated to various refugee centres and charities involved with assisting child refugees. They are illustrated by talented artists from across the world.
Check out this map and get in touch with one of the collection points.
For those in London: Help Refugees UK are collecting back to school essentials for Greece and Lebanon. The container is leaving on the 24th September. Email them on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more, or email me and I can send you the details.
There is a event taking place in central London on the 17th September: ‘Solidarity with Refugees’. Read the details for more information.
Do some research – I have spent quite a few hours online just so I could see what projects are out there. The truth is – there are SO MANY that cater for all capacities – whether that’s picking up a few extra items at the supermarket each week, donating a few thousand pounds, volunteering as a professional, going to hand out supplies or helping to organise logistics. Chances are that there will be a project local to you, and Facebook means you can find out exactly what you need very quickly.
Volunteer – As I mentioned above – volunteering. Roles are so varied – from personal trainers, to doctors, to teachers, to absolutely anyone that can lift a sack of potatoes.
Lastly, everyone has different views and beliefs regarding the refugee crisis, and I felt it was important to add mine – so spare ten minutes, grab a drink and some cake and have a listen to some moving words spoken by a member of my church. I feel he echoes my views better than I ever could.
So what are you waiting for? Get online. Get talking. Get collecting at your workplace, your church, in your community, or your school, and make a difference!
The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all – Leo Rosten.
We can do no great things, only small things with great love – Mother Theresa.