Our May box was created in partnership with Choose Love, an organisation that works with charities across the world to help refugees who have been displaced from their homes. If you were able to grab one of our May boxes, you are already supporting Choose Love’s work as 10% of all profits from that box will go straight to their organisation. If you weren’t able to get your hands on one of our May boxes or if you’re looking for other ways you can contribute meaningfully, here are some suggestions:
1. Donate practical items to charities that support refugees
Fleeing their homes under harrowing circumstances can mean that refugees arrive in an unfamiliar place with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. A really useful way you can help is by going through your wardrobe, cosmetics cupboard or shoe rack and donating items you no longer wear, use or need. When choosing items, please make sure they’re in a condition that you would be happy to receive yourself. It can be easy to think that those in need should be grateful for whatever they get but at a time when they may be feeling vulnerable and even embarrassed to take charity, receiving something of good quality can go a long way to restoring a refugee’s sense of humanity.
2. Shout about initiatives that support refugees
If you hear about an organisation, drive or initiative working towards improving outcomes for refugees why not let your personal network know all about it? Social media has made it easier for us to reach more people, more quickly. A few seconds spent retweeting or sharing details of a charity could make the difference for those on the front line by raising awareness of the important work they do.
3. Contact your local and national government officials
If you live in a democracy then you have a voice and it’s important that we all use our voices to speak for those who may not be in a position to do so themselves. Write to your local government official and ask what they are doing for refugees where you live. Seek out examples of countries or programmes which have successfully helped refugees get back on their feet and share these with your political representatives. If you feel that isn’t working, start a petition and get your community, friends and family to sign it; with enough signatures gathered, your local government representatives will have no choice but to sit up and take notice.
4. Seek out refugee stories
Unfortunately, some of the more sensationalist parts of the media have published stories that paint refugees in an unfavourable light. The more insidious of these stories argue that refugees are looking for a handout, are less than human and should just “go back to where they came from”. Even if you do not seek out such negative coverage, it can seep into your consciousness without you even realising it. It’s important to counterbalance these toxic narratives with stories from refugees themselves. Research books, films and other media you feel you can connect with and that will help you gain an understanding of the refugee experience from those who have been through it themselves. Why not start with the book featured in our May box ‘Voices of the Lost’ by Hoda Barakat.
You may want to support refugee charities and organisations by donating your services and time. This could be by acting as a translator if you speak more than one language, by giving out care packages to refugees or by helping to secure temporary housing. However you feel able to contribute, spending time working face-to-face with refugees can be a hugely worthwhile and rewarding experience.
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