10 Ways You Can Actually Help Syrian Refugees
Written By: Maria Losada
With the recent and unfortunate tragedy in Paris, the road for refugees will only get rougher.
The continuous barrage of news updates may make some feel overwhelmed, and unsure of how they can make a difference. We want you to know that there are ways to help, and we’ve collected some inspiring stories of effective human rights organizations. If you find yourself sympathizing with the plight of refugees seeking a better tomorrow, we encourage you to look into the following nonprofits.
1. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Source: USA for UNHCR
“I became so passionate that last year I volunteered on a refugee resettlement in the USA,” one volunteer shares, “It was a great experience, listening to them share their stories. They invited me to their homes, where we sat and they offered me tea and we talked for hours.” Established by the United Nations in 1950, the UNHCR provides relief to more than 9,300 people in 123 countries. They focus on providing refugees with shelter and emergency items such as blankets, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, and sleeping mats. DONATE NOW.
2. Doctors Without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF)
Source: Medecins Sans Frontieres
“This is my favorite charity because they go where the action is, and put their lives on the line to help the victims of war and violence,” writes one donor , “I have given since I can’t remember when and will continue.”
MSF provides essential medical attention to people in 70 countries. Last year they managed three health facilities in Aleppo, Syria, along with numerous field offices, and administered 135,600 consultations and distributed 4,900 kits. With a civil war and a militant group terrorizing its citizens, Syria can benefit from increased medical help.
Your donation will provide health facilities with everything from simple gauzes to more complex medical equipment and medicine. DONATE NOW.
3. Oxfam International
Source: Oxfam International
“Oxfam America works to right the wrongs of poverty & injustice on several levels, through directly working with people (from humanitarian work in Syria to helping small-scale farmers produce more & withstand climate change better) to grassroots advocacy and activism (such as pressuring the world’s 10 largest food & beverage companies to be more just & transparent)”, writes one volunteer.
Oxfam provides potable water within Syrian borders by repairing wells and reinforcing infrastructure. Oxfam also installs water networks in refugee camps in neighboring countries. In Za’atari, Jordan, they’re constructing a water network that will benefit 85,000 people, which will be completed in March 2016. DONATE NOW.
4. Refugees Welcome
Source: Refugees Welcome
This innovative nonprofit allows people to list their homes, flats, or any living space they have available to house refugees. The organization matches refugees with a specific living arrangement based on factors such as location and language spoken. They even help finance rent if necessary.
Although mostly active in Germany and Austria, Refugees Welcome is working to expand to 20 other countries. So far 176 refugees have been welcomed into shared homes. DONATE NOW.
5. Karam Foundation
Source: Karam Foundation
“The Karam Foundation does an excellent job of connecting people who want to support Syrians, and Syrian kids who want to succeed in school,” one volunteer shares.
This small but powerful organization fosters sustainable development programs in Syria, especially those focused on education. “Innovate to Educate” is a campaign that works to bring children back into classrooms and off the streets. Millions of Syrian children have been forced to quit school due to the chaos in their country, but the Karam Foundation is working hard to make sure kids still have a bright future.
If you have books, clothes, or movies collecting dust in your house, Karam Foundation challenges you to sell five items on eBay and use all proceeds to support refugees. DONATE NOW.
6. Planet Syria
Source: Planet Syria
Planet Syria is an international campaign set up by Syrian activists to call for “global solidarity” on the injustices occurring for the last four years.
Sign their statement and share it on social media to spread awareness on this crisis and make a call for peace.
7. Help Refugees in Lesvos, Greece with Volunteer Efforts!
Lesvos Island, Greece, is becoming a hub for refugees as it serves as the first stop on the route many refugees take to Europe from the Middle East. Alison Terry-Evans, who has spent a lot of time on the island for the past eight years, is running a crowd-funding campaign to ask for money for gas and vehicle rentals to safely transport refugees up to 60 kilometers daily. In addition to transportation, Terry-Evans and her other volunteers also provide migrants with clean clothes and basic necessities. DONATE NOW.
8. Lutheran Social Services of Michigan
Source: Lutheran Social Servicesof Michigan
Lutheran Social Services of Michigan creates “communities of service” by offering hope and compassion, advocating for justice and seeking creative solutions. The organization is not only for Lutherans, and in fact, they have taken in about 1-2 Syrian families each week since June. Lutheran Social Services offers legal help, translation services, and a school impact program to refugees. DONATE NOW.
9. Sunrise USA
Sunrise USA, independent of any political or religious affiliation, has been committed to providing aid to families, widow and orphans of the Syrian civil war since 2011. This organization has been around since the beginning of the conflict, and provides food, trauma-care medical relief, and educational services. In the long-term, Sunrise USA aims to develop infrastructure projects in areas of healthcare, human development and education to rebuild Syria. DONATE NOW.
10. International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee works with Syrian partners to provide “primary care, trauma services, reproductive health care, and dialysis” to thousands of people, and also immunized “over 1 million children”.
One volunteer writes, “I’ve supported the IRC for several years now and I’ve been very impressed with all aspects of our relationship. They do a great job of communicating how resources are spent, and I am a big fan of how they approach the difficult problems they tackle, e.g., involving local resources as much as possible to minimize the chance that they leave a void when they exit.”
11. Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Relief USA strives to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide regardless of color, race, religion, or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. One volunteer writes, “Islamic Relief is dedicated to being involved in communities. They look to build relationships and make changes everywhere they go. They’re also honest and open about their work and that’s important with non-profit organizations. I love the work they do and appreciate all of their efforts!” Since this is a larger nonprofit, to have your donation go directly to Syrian refugee efforts, specify “Syrian Humanitarian Aid” as the country on the donation page. DONATE NOW.
What other organizations are making a big impact on the Syrian refugee crisis? Tell us in the comments below.