Helping out refugees may seem hard because of the distance, but here is a solid list of actions you can take.
What’s currently happening in Aleppo, Syria right now is absolutely devastating and it’s too easy to become overwhelmed by the situation and feel helpless. Anyone in the Americas essentially feels too far away to actually make a real difference in helping those trapped in the war-torn city, and even those living closer to the country are still at a loss for how to assist.
So here’s a list of real actions anyone can take if they’re in a position and willing to help those that are in serious need. Look below to see if any of these suggestions help you to help them.
1. Donate, donate, donate
It’s probably not what many people want to hear because donations are so impersonal and might not feel concrete, but donating to charities that are on the ground and helping is so incredibly important that it’s actually the understatement of the year. There are so many organizations that are in place right now and in need of funds so they can rescue more people from the city that their own government is attacking.
Here’s a list of several worthy organizations that you might consider donating to, if you’re able:
White Helmets (Syrian Civil Defense)
This organization is well-known because they always spring into action whenever an attack has occurred and people need to be rescued and evacuated from the scene. They don white helmets and go out to pull people from the rubble and bring them to safety. The organization consists solely of volunteers who put their life on the line every time they go out for a rescue and their work is constant in this current situation. Donate here.
Doctors Without Borders
Almost everyone has heard of this organization, but not many know how crucial they’ve been in helping Syrian civilians in the war. Since most of the doctors fled the country years ago, these doctors’ presence and the medical care they provide daily is of the utmost importance. Donate here.
Syrian American Medical Society
This organization has opened dozens of medical centers and taken in the most refugees than any other group. In 2015 alone they helped 3 million Syrians. Donate here.
Preemptive Love Coalition
This non-profit addresses the emergency needs of refugees, such as medical care, shelter, food and water, and then follows up by providing grants to those seeking employment and trying to establish themselves again. They are already feeding tens of thousands of Syrians right outside of Aleppo and providing shelter for them. Donate here.
International Rescue Committee
The IRC has been aiding people in Syria since shortly after the conflict erupted and provides emergency relief and humanitarian aid by supporting organizations that are on the ground. They support clinics with emergency healthcare and other issues, provide clothes and supplies, educate displaced children and provide counseling for them, and train adults for employment. Donate here.
If you’re not in a position to donate, want to do something more tangible, or want to accompany your donation with your time, you can volunteer for organizations in several ways. Contact any of the charities listed above or choose some from a more comprehensive list here on the USAID website and ask how you can help. There are many ways to help charities remotely, but you can also consider joining some organizations like Doctors Without Borders that are actually traveling to Syria or neighboring countries. If you live in certain European countries or Canada, visit this website and consider listing your home as a shelter for Syrian refugees.
3. Contact your lawmakers
What you actually say to them is up to you, but contacting your elected officials is highly important for policy changes and reform. If you live in the US, here is a list of elected officials and how to contact them. Rumor has it that calling is the most effective way of being heard. You can also contact the State Department to voice your concern and give your opinion on how to handle the situations at hand. One voice may not resonate, but if several thousand or even million start to suddenly contact these officials, they may just be heard.
4. Educate yourself and those around you
Education is key to understanding the problems at the center of this conflict and those obstacles keeping refugees from being free and safe. Social media is a great way to find articles that might interest you on what’s going on, but just doing google searches for current news or reading about it from the UN Refugee Agency or the USAID Center for International Disaster can be extremely helpful. The more you know, the easier it is to start a dialogue with someone who could is interested and who may go on to educate more people or help by donating/volunteering.
Are you considering any of these options to help out refugees? Let us know in the comments below! Then share and like this article to spread the news.
This article (If You’re Wondering How To Help Syria Right Now, Look No Further) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com