OXFORD, England — There are many ways to help refugees that are both engaging and enlightening and extend beyond the realms of charitable donations. However, sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin. Even an ordinary individual can make a difference in the lives of refugees in fun and engaging ways.
6 Engaging Ways to Help Refugees
- Sport. The Miles for refugees fundraising event provides a great way to combine sport with raising money for refugees in the United Kingdom. Whether one cycles to work, swims each week, meets up with friends to run in the park or even skateboards for fun, Miles for refugees provides a great way to make the distance count by getting active for a good cause. There are different distances to choose from, all representing various journeys that refugees must make to reach safety. This is something one can do at any time, even if one is not involved in the official British Red Cross September 2021 challenge. Simply set up a fundraising page, choose a distance and keep people up to date with the challenge progress.
- Art. Artists can donate work to an auction specifically for refugees or donate the proceeds of an art sale to a refugee charity. Organizations such as Resartis have hosted art auctions to support refugees. Resartis recognizes the impact of COVID-19 on struggling artists. It offers a “40% commission of the sale price” to the artist and the other 60% goes toward supporting refugees. To make a difference as a buyer of artworks, buyers can consider seeking out art auctions that help refugees. These auctions happen often, sometimes even online, and only require a quick Google search to locate.
- Music. Music offers an individual the opportunity to gain an understanding of the refugee experience. The Refugee Orchestra Project works to provide such an understanding while demonstrating the essential roles that refugees play in their host countries. Concerts are held in both the U.S. and the U.K. The Refugee Orchestra Project also provides concert clips on its site along with a donations page.
- Reading. Reading books about the lives and experiences of refugees allows one to gain a greater understanding of the hardships of refugees worldwide. These books foster greater empathy for refugees, inspiring readers to help. Furthermore, a lack of education around the topic of refugees gives way for misconceptions and false premises that foster intolerance for refugees. Books raise awareness and correct these misconceptions, encouraging people to become more accepting of refugees. The UNHCR provides a list of books suitable for children. For the adult reader, Penguin Random House provides a list of books that illustrate the refugee experience. A particularly popular book is the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. This book provides an incredibly gripping and insightful tale of refugees’ struggles; therefore, it is a great start for all readers.
- Ration Challenge. Rationing is a way of raising funds while gaining an understanding of the struggles that refugees suffer each day in order to survive. The challenge is to “eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee in a camp in Jordan” for one week. The official challenge dates fall within the month of June; however, the challenge can be done at other times by letting the Ration Challenge team know. Alternatively, an individual can opt to go solo, sticking to the rations stated on the website page while raising donations.
- Clothes. SolidariTee is a student-led global charity to support refugees and asylum seekers worldwide. Among other efforts and other products, the charity sells uniquely designed t-shirts that serve as “a visual display of solidarity with refugees.” All proceeds go toward NGOs that provide support to refugees globally. Priced around £10 (about $14) a shirt, the t-shirts also serve as a conversation starter, providing an opportunity for the wearer to educate others about refugees. Purchasing a meaningful t-shirt at a lower cost than most retail prices while supporting refugees worldwide is a win-win.
A passion for music or art can go further by harnessing the arts to help refugees. With several creative ways to help refugees, every ordinary individual can make a difference in the refugee crisis.
– Hope Browne