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What you can do about the global refugee crisis

We all know there is a global refugee crisis.

Right at this moment, there are over 50 million refugees worldwide. 50 million humans who have been forcibly displaced. 50 million humans without a home. 50 million humans suffering from a situation that’s completely out of their control.

In less than 5 years, over 4 million refugees have fled Syria to neighbouring countries and more than 7.6 million residents are internally displaced. In the first six months of 2015, 140,000 refugees and migrants (mainly from Syria) crossed the Mediterranean Sea despite the dangerous and terrible conditions involved in the hope they would find asylum.

We imagine that you feel just like us, utterly hopeless. So we thought we should speak to those in the know, our international NGO partners, to find out how individual Australians can make a difference.

(Source: UNHCR)

1. Give money

You can help by making a donation to the international NGOs who are on the ground providing immediate aid and assistance to those in need.

Australian Red Cross is providing humanitarian assistance to those made vulnerable by conflict and emergencies by providing the basic necessities people need to survive: from food and water to medical care and hygiene items.

Australia for UNHCR needs your help to provide refugees with desperately needed kits to survive and thrive. $288 can provide 3 families with emergency survival kits with sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen sets and soap.

Oxfam Australia is on the ground in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt providing desperately needed emergency assistance. They have reached more than 1.3 million people with clean drinking water, hygiene and sanitation programs, as well cash and relief supplies such as blankets and stoves in winter and vouchers for hygiene supplies in summer. $240 can give 50 people living in tented settlements in Jordan access to showers.

For the past five years, UNICEF Australia has been providing Syria’s children with life-saving support in the form of shelter, life-saving nutrition, clean water and sanitisation, temporary learning spaces and psychosocial services. But with no end in sight for the ongoing conflict, the children of Syria desperately need your support. $75 provides 10 blankets to Syrian refugees to provide comfort and protection against the harsh winters.

Save the Children is on the ground saving lives in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq, and providing food, water and health care to children and their families. So far, they have helped more than 2.2 million people, including more than 1.5 million children – but many more need your help. $30 provides 8,000 litres of safe drinking water to a community of 1,600 people per day.

Photo source: Australian Red Cross
Photo source: Australian Red Cross
alt text="UNICEF child"
Photo source: UNICEF

2. Give time

There are a bunch of ways you can volunteer your time. Here are just a few:

3. Sign petitions and join movements

Signing campaigns is a simple but effective way to get your voice heard about issues that matter most to you.

GetUp is one of Australia’s largest campaigning communities with almost 1 million Australians joining the movement. Visit their website and support their current campaigns.

Amnesty International is a global movement of over 7 million people committed to defending those who are denied justice or freedom. You can take action online.

alt text="Amnesty International"
Photo source: Amnesty International
alt text="GetUp Australia"
Photo source: GetUp Australia

4. Donate goods and services

Again, donating your unwanted goods is an easy but powerful way to help those who really need it.

The St Vincent De Paul Society has a long history of helping refugees and migrants.You can donate your unwanted (clean and in good condition) clothes and goods. Visit their website for more info.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre allows you to donate food and goods to refugees and asylum seekers.

5. Fundraise

While this option takes some planning and dedication, it’s an extremely rewarding and worthwhile way to contribute your time and heart to causes that need it. There are a number of ways you can go about it:

  1. Set up an online fundraising page with Everyday Hero and ask your friends, family and colleagues to donate.
  2. Take on an adventure and fundraise for a charity who is working in International Aid and Development or Human Rights. Check out our calendar.
  3. Host an event, like a Movie Night or Trivia night and donate the proceeds.

We acknowledge this list is by no means exhaustive, there are many many organisations doing incredible work to help the plight of refugees all over the world. If you know of other organisations or ways to get involved that are worth a mention please let us know!

Header photo credit: UNHCR/Federico Scoppa

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