The politicization of refugees is not new. Regardless of whether the subject be Jewish refugees during World War II or Syrian refugees 6000 miles away in 2021, at the end of the day, helping those in need should be neither red or blue, but rather being human.
But ‘What can I do to help refugees?’, particularly when financial donations are tough for millions of Americans amidst the ongoing pandemic? Whether you have 5 minutes or 6 hours, instead of binge-watching Netflix’s “History of Swear Words”, a few ideas to help save lives.
If you have five minutes or less …
Go online. One way you can help without even leaving the comfort of your home is to reach out to your local officials. International Rescue Committee has resources such as postcards and links to where to find addresses to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The postcards can be mailed, tweeted or shared with friends, family, local groups and faith communities, asking them to contact their representatives.
Where one lives shouldn’t determine whether one lives – and the current refugee crisis is a difficult reminder of that fact. Developing countries host over 86 percent of the world’s refugees, and half of the world’s top 10 refugee-hosting countries are now located in sub-Saharan Africa. So regardless of where your political affiliations lie – whether you’re for tighter borders in the US or not – the postcards can be tailored to what you believe and how you feel we, as a nation, should support refugees – whether that be on US soil or abroad or both.
If you have a few hours …
Volunteer. For the refugees fortunate enough to reach the United States, their journey and challenges continue. Below are some reputable organizations. However, search online for organizations in your local communities.
- Charity Navigator
- International Rescue Committee
- Oxfam America
- Doctors Without Borders
- Save the Children
If you have a week or more …
Go abroad. If you are able to dedicate a week or more to the cause, volunteering internationally with organizations such as Indigo Volunteers is a life-changing opportunity to ease suffering and save lives. You can also advocate for your school, university or company to provide scholarships to refugees. Lastly, single refugees are not seen as top priorities for housing and shelter. So offering your home or another sources of housing is extremely helpful and transformative.