What can I do?
Get educated! Read about the issue and follow or contact the refugee support groups. You can sign up to their email list, follow on Face-book, or attend meeting if they are in your local area. wherever you live getting involved is only a click away. Do not waste time get on line and become proactive. Pay attention to the media and what is being said about current policy, do you agree or not? If you are unsure find out more and if you disagree get busy advocating. Advocate with refugee groups. This can be through supporting the Refugee Council,Migrant groups, or similar services in your local area and beyond. Talk to your Divisional Social Programme Secretary about contacting your MP. You will be able to find out what your MP knows about these issues and what they are prepared to do to help.
Do you have any refugees in your community? Find out! Can you support through Advocacy, volunteering or attending/hosting a community events? Hold a cultural awareness night and educate your friends and immediate circle, your school, community group, or the workplace about who refugees are and how they are currently being treated in Australia. If you attend an educational institution do an assignment, speech, or presentation on
this issue, or just talk about it to others, it is not a stigma and it is not shameful to want to support your fellow humans.Send a care package to a detention centre, for a man or woman who maybe waiting for their VISA to be processed.
Refugee crisis: How you can help refugees trying to reach safety in Europe and here in Australia (Excerpt from an article by SMH )
You can Follow support volunteer or Donate
- The International Committee of the Red Crossis delivering humanitarian aid to areas like Aleppo, Homs and rural Damascus, as well as assisting the millions of Syrians who have fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Red Cross Red Crescent is helping more than 3.5 million Syrians by providing food parcels and blankets, supplying hygiene kits with toothpaste, toilet paper and soap, and restoring sanitation systems.
- In Australia, the Red Crossworks to improve the plight of asylum seekers and refugees, by providing emergency financial relief and linking people to housing, education and social support programs.
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)is providing water, mosquito nets, tents and healthcare to Syrian refugees. Outside of Syria, thousands of refugees have spent years in exile. With their savings drained and employment opportunities thin on the ground, millions of people are relying on UNHCR for assistance and protection. As little as $15 can provide two families with jerry cans to transport clean water.
- The International Rescue Committeeis responding to the humanitarian crisis on the Greek island of Lesbos. Each day some 2000 refugees are arriving on Greece’s shores. Most of them have fled the Syrian civil war.
- Save the Childrenis working with Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt providing families with food, clothing and shelter. The organisation is also conducting large-scale food distributions in Jordan. Meanwhile, in the Za’atari refugee camp, Save the Children has helped to feed over 130,000 children and their families. The organisation is also distributing children’s clothing, mattresses, blankets, heating fuel and stoves in Lebanon.
- Médecins Sans Frontièresis working rapidly to vaccinate children arriving at refugee camps to prevent the spread of measles. They are also distributing mosquito nets and helping improve basic living conditions to prevent a large-scale epidemic. The organisation also sets up medical clinics in the camps.
- Oxfamis on the ground in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt providing people with clean drinking water, hygiene and sanitation packs and relief supplies such as blankets and stoves. Outside Jordan’s large Za’atari refugee camp, Oxfam is providing cash to vulnerable refugees living in informal tent settlements.
- The Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre is an independent community legal centre specialising in all aspects of refugee and immigration law, policy and practice.
- World Visionworks in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq providing water and sanitation, health, food security, non-food items like mosquito nets and nutrition kits as well as shelter to children and their families. Donations can be made at com.au.
- CARE Australiahas operations in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria, offering all kinds of assistance to people affected by the Syrian conflict. In Lebanon, CARE is distributing packages to newly arrived refugees that contain basic essential items such as mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, baby items and hygiene kits.
You can Get involved with grassroots groups
- Save the Children runs early learning programs, which help newly arrived migrant and refugee children settle into Australia, as well as initiatives that help young people transition out of youth detention.
- Amnesty International has local action groupsacross Australia that work to raise awareness about a range of human rights issues, including asylum seekers. These groups meet monthly to discuss issues and decide practical ways to raise awareness, raise funds and take action to have human rights impact.
- The Welcome Dinner Projectaims to connect new migrants with Australian residents around the dinner table. The aim of these pot-luck shared dinners is to create a platform for meaningful connection, sparking friendships between people of diverse cultures who are living in close proximity to one another but have not had an opportunity to meet in a supported environment.
- West Welcome Wagonis a volunteer-run registered charity supporting asylum seekers in Melbourne’s west. It supports asylum seekers in the local community by providing good quality donations of material goods, emergency food relief, neighbour to neighbour social support, as well as special projects such as in-home English support and community engagement.
- Montmorency Asylum Seekers Support Groupalso raises funds and collects food for the ASRC food bank. Volunteers also support individuals in detention centres and in the community.
- The Brigidine Asylum Seeker Programis looking for volunteers to teach English to new arrivals.
- The Asylum Seeker Resource Centreis an ideal base to donate foods and goods to refugees and asylum seekers. People can donate to the centre’s Food and Aid Network online through Ceres Fair Food. People can also order food online from Coles or Woolworths and have it delivered to the ASRC. The centre also accepts pots and pans and new linen sets from Kmart, as well as gift cards from Gift Cards online.
From Juana Garcia of Silver Slipper Revolution
- If you have a disposable income, you can direct your money to places that align with your values.
- If you have social connections, you can connect with them to pool your resources.
- If you have a voice, you can use it to call, send letters, or get involved in your local government.
- If you have a computer with internet, and you have any sort of skill in the way of web design, art, social media, you can use your skillset to help organizations or people who are working on things that align with your values.
- If you are fluent in several languages, you can offer translation services somewhere or you can connect with SEVERAL networks in your languages, to motivate people to “be the change,” as it were.
- If you have a car, you can offer rides to people who don’t have rides and want to get involved.
- If you have extra food, or you know how to cook for large groups, you can offer your skills to large groups who get together for action meetings.
So, if you think you can’t “do anything” about the state of the world, you’re probably wrong, and you should probably ask yourself, “What can I do? What action can I take? What do I have to offer?” I guarantee you, you probably have at least *one thing* people need. And that’s how movements come together, through the people, in them offering that *one thing* they do well.
Remember “When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”
~ Pauline R. Kezer ~