When it comes to helping refugees, it can be really hard to know where to start. However much you’re able to contribute – from asking your political representatives to support refugees, to helping out in your community – we’d be proud to have you on our side.
There are loads of amazing organisations working hard to get refugees the support they need in a hundred different ways. Firstly, if you haven’t seen our campaign with the International Rescue Committee, click here now to send a quick email to your representative in Europe and help refugees find safety in Europe!
And then have a look at some of these other great initiatives to get involved with…
1. City of Sanctuary & Refugees Welcome: Welcome refugees to the UK
It can be very lonely arriving in a new country, especially if you don’t speak the language. City of Sanctuary and Refugees Welcome both have local groups that welcome refugees, spending time with them and helping them integrate into the community. Both groups also get stuck into campaigning for a better deal for refugees, so go along and see just how much of a difference you can make!
2. Welcome app: shake hands digitally in Sweden
Ever the pioneers, the Swedes have made welcoming refugees as simple as opening an app. The Welcome App lets host communities connect with refugees by way of a digital handshake. Newcomers to the country can ask questions about their new home, and when a host community member reaches out to answer, a connection is made! Download the app here.
3. The NHS: Help refugees navigate health services
The NHS is an amazing thing, but it can be hard to get your head around as a newcomer. New 2 UK Health is a website where refugees and asylum seekers can ask questions about how to do things like make an appointment with a GP, or when to go to hospital instead. Anyone can sign up to be an adviser – you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to have used the NHS.
4. Takecare BnB: Volunteer your spare room in the Netherlands
The system in the Netherlands means that refugees can spend months waiting for a home even after they’ve been granted refugee status. Stuck in asylum centres around the country, people are isolated and unable to start rebuilding their lives. Takecare BnB gives them a chance to move out of the asylum centres by pairing them with people who have a spare room. This gives refugees a chance to get to know Dutch people and start integrating into the community. Although the placements are temporary, the friendships made are long lasting.
5. Save Me: Become a mentor in Bonn
Save me is a German-wide mentoring scheme that started life in the sunny city of Bonn. There are chapters all over the country that pair German citizens up with refugees to help them integrate into the community – spending time with them, helping them with settling in, practising the language with them. Mentoring is a great way to provide practical support to someone who’s newly arrived and just needs a friend!
6. The Dutch Refugee Council: Become a Dutch Buddy
The Dutch Refugee Council has an amazing volunteer scheme where you can lend your skills to help refugees rebuild their lives. You can get trained up to help refugees learn the language or navigate the legal system, or simply become a refugee buddy and accompany them through the highs and lows of starting a new life in the Netherlands.