When home is no longer a safe place, refugees must seek asylum elsewhere. This often means going far from home and leaving everyone and everything familiar.
Along the way refugees may face dangerous, hostile or life-threatening situations. And even when they reach safety, refugees may struggle to feel welcome, begin the recovery process from traumatic experiences or loss, or be allowed to stay.
The global refugee crisis requires the will and coordination of governments, leaders and communities worldwide. But each and every one of us can also play a part by advocating for, supporting and welcoming refugees as well as creating a world where children and their families don’t have to leave their homes in the first place.
This Refugee Week we’re sharing 10 ways you make a difference for children and their families impacted by the refugee crisis:
1. Donate funds
One of the most effective ways you can help refugees is to support organisations helping children and their communities in need.
Save the Children works in every corner of the globe and including some of the toughest places on earth for children.
By ensuring children are protected, healthy and on track for a positive future, families are less likely to have to leave home to ensure their children can survive and fulfil their potential.
If crises do strike – whether it be conflict, poverty or disaster – we're there to provide life-saving aid, psycho-social support and ensure children still have safe spaces to play, learn and just be kids again.
Save the Children also run a program called ‘It Takes a Village’ which helps refugee families to settle into communities and create new connections.
The Australian Refugee Council (ARC) is the national body for refugees and the organisations who support them. They provide support services and advocate for policy change.
The ARC welcome members of the community to join their movement for refugee rights and help them to advocate on individual, collective and public levels.
Your advocacy efforts could range from helping individuals to access existing services, to calling for policy change to create services that are needed, to helping influence public opinion on the refugee crisis.
Advocate for refugee rights
Volunteering your time, skills and expertise is a fantastic way to make a positive impact for issues you’re passionate about.
The Australian Red Cross is looking for volunteers for their Migration Support program, but their website also has lots of great ideas of how you can take action in your community, school and workplace to make a difference for people seeking asylum in Australia.
Become a volunteer
4. Donate goods
When people flee their homes, they often leave with very little. Even after reaching safety, refugees may need essential items to help them start their new lives.
The West Welcome Wagon is a not-for-profit incorporated organisation providing material aid donations and assistance to asylum seekers in the Australian community.
Run by volunteers they identify the needs of local asylum seekers and respond to them. The most commonly requested items including children’s items (bassinets, cots, clothing, prams, blankets and nappies), warm clothing for adults, large household items (washing machines, beds, fridges, dining tables, drawers and rugs) and non-perishable food and toiletries.
5. Support employment pathways
SisterWorks is a not for profit that assists women migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to become financially independent and happily settled in Australia.
Employment is a vital part of refugees becoming self-reliant and building a future for themselves and their families in Australia.
And it’s not just refugees who benefit. Refugees bring strong cultural knowledge, resilience skills to existing teams, while integrating refugees into our workforce helps build social cohesion. And finally, companies with more diverse teams have been proven to perform better!
Support refugee employment
6. Create community
Sometimes, you just a need a little help from your friends.
While Kindred Kindness provides practical support to people seeking asylum in Australia in the form of connecting them with services and material goods, one of the group’s founding principles is extending kindness and friendship to those seeking asylum.
This includes offering friendship through letter writing to those in detention, to organising outings with asylum seekers in the community, to holding community events, fundraisers and vigils.
Help build community
7. Be a mentor
Red Cross is just one of many organisations in the community working to support people seeking asylum, refugees, and migrants. Opportunities are varied and may see you running an informative session in a school or perhaps mentoring people to assist them into employment.
8. Amplify refugee voices
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is Australia’s largest human rights organisation providing support to people seeking asylum. The ASRC can also connect you with powerful speakers from refugee backgrounds to speak at your community, school or workplace event.
By listening to people with lived experience of displacement and asylum seeking, we can better understand how we can help as well as amplify their voice in any discussion, policies or programs involving them.
Book a speaker
9. Learn about solutions
Complex issues such as the global refugee crisis require innovative solutions.
The Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (CRSI) - based off similar initiatives around the world including in Europe – involves ordinary individuals or community groups pulling together the funds and resources needed to support a refugee or refugee family to settle within their community.
The Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (CRSI) is a joint project of the Refugee Council of Australia, Amnesty International Australia, Save the Children Australia, Welcome to Australia, Rural Australians for Refugees and the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce.
Support Community Sponsorship
10. Stay informed (SCA)
The global refugee crisis is complex and constantly evolving. Our teams are on the ground ready to respond where children and their communities need us.
You can be kept informed on how to support our work with vulnerable children and their families around the world, including those impacted by the refugee crisis by:
Following our social channels:
Subscribing to our Newsletter: