Refugee crisis: What can you do to help?
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Refugees United
The shocking image of a boy who drowned trying to flee the war in Syria has prompted calls for governments to do more to tackle the refugee crisis, but what can individual citizens do to help?
So far Germany has put other nations to shame with plans to take 800,000 asylum seekers this year. There has also been a series of impressive voluntary campaigns and gestures, from Refugees Welcome – a scheme for sharing homes with those fleeing conflict and persecution described as ”an Airbnb for refugees” – to a professional football club fielding a third team made up entirely of refugees.
By contrast the response of the British media has been characterised by fear rather than compassion, but there are plenty of ways that individuals can offer support. We want to hear about how you’ve helped those seeking asylum. But in the meantime, here’s a guide about some of the ways you can contribute.
- March on Downing Street in Solidarity with Refugees on Saturday 12 September. The protest begins at noon at London’s Marble Arch.
- The International Organisation for Migration is urging supporters to get involved in its #MigrantsContribute campaign, which promotes the cultural, economic, and political contributions that migrants make to society.
- A number of online petitions have been launched, including one calling for a more compassionate Europe-wide response to the crisis and another urging Britain to accept more asylum seekers.
A number of charities and non-governmental organisations have opened appeals specifically aimed at helping the plight of refugees. Various organisations spell out exactly what a specific donation could provide. Here’s a sample:
- Migrant Offshore Aid Station: The charity which runs independent rescue boats to rescue migrants at risk of drowning has seen a huge spike in donations since pictures of the drowned Syrian boy emerged.
- Médecins Sans Frontières: The humanitarian agency has three rescue ships in the Mediterranean, on Tuesday alone they rescued 1,658 people in its biggest day of operations.
- Aylan Kurdi Fund: A specific fund named in honour of the drowned boy was set up within 24 hours of the circulation photographs of his body emerging. All proceeds will go to the humanitarian agency Hand in Hand for Syria.
- Refugee Council: A donation of £100 could pay for the education and travel for two children for a week.
- Unicef: The UN’s children’s charity is providing life-saving supplies such as clean water, medicine and psychological support. It says a donation of £9 could provide an emergency water kit for a family.
- Save the Children: It says a donation of £50 could buy two hygiene kits including soap, towels and toothbrushes.
- British Red Cross: A donation of £30 could buy 28 mats to help Syria refugees cope with the cold.
- Islamic Relief: Three families could be fed for a month on a donation of £210, the charity says.
- The crowdfunding website Just Giving has a list of specific appeals for migrants in Calais. It includes one of students trying to raise £750 to buy mobile phones, footballs, camping equipment, dictionaries, storage boxes, sanitary items and waterproof clothing.
Other Donations: It is not only cash that can help.
- Refugee Action is offering to take old cars as donations. It says the last scrap car it took raised £126 for refugees. It is also looking for old mobile phones and even printer cartridges.
- A Facebook group Music Against Borders is looking for musical instruments for migrant musicians in Calais.
- Teacher Mary Jones is looking for donations of books for her Jungle Bookslibrary named after the Calais migrant camp.
- The grass roots campaign Calais Action is urging supporters to donate in any way they can. It has put together a map of drop-off and collection zones.
Many articles about refugees in Europe:
Angelina Jolie speech to the UN: