help Refugees

According to the International Rescue Committee, Syrian refugees account for between a quarter and a third of Lebanon’s population. Jordan has about 630,000 Syrian refugees—proportionally, that is the same as the United States taking in all 64 million residents of the United Kingdom.

Those who would like to extend a helpful hand are often unsure of where to begin. Here are six ways to help refugees:

    1. With the Syrian crisis alone resulting in over 4 million refugees, many agencies doing valuable work are stretched thin. A New York Times story on the refugee crisis includes links to several well-ranked charities that are seeking donations to help refugees.
    2. For those interested in more hands-on work, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) connects volunteers to refugee programs worldwide, though this initiative is geared towards highly skilled professionals.
    3. There are several other ways the average person can volunteer, however. The International Rescue Committee has local offices across the United States offering volunteering opportunities, such as working with refugee children or helping adults with their job search.

  1. The White House has a portal for volunteering to help refugees. If you enter your location, it provides a map and list of locations in your area that help refugees. For example, if you enter Washington, D.C., one of the results is the local Ethiopian Community Development Council, which helps African refugees resettle and build new, fruitful lives.
  2. You can also donate items. While many organizations do not accept physical donations like clothing on an international level, many local offices do. The International Refugee Council, for example, says local offices are often in need of items such as clothing and children’s items.
  3. Contact your senators and contact your representative. There are a variety of things you can encourage them to do, such as make pathways to accept refugees, increase funding for foreign aid or give more support to U.N. programs working with refugees.

This list is a good starting point for those interesting in aiding refugees to overcome global crises.

Emily Milakovic

Photo: Flickr