What can I do to help refugees? It is a question most of us ask ourselves. There is so much we can do. Refugees must face and overcome many hurdles to be able to succeed in their lifetime. From psychological stress, housing, employment to language barriers, and social acclimatization. The life of a refugee is not an easy one and requires support from their community. Life along with other organizations and individuals around the world have created new and inspiring ways to help refugees. Here are the top three heartwarming stories that made a positive impact on the lives of refugees.
Life Hosts A Holiday Festival For Families in Houston, TX
This past December, LIFE sponsored a Holiday Festival for immigrant and refugee families. This event was created not only to provide necessities to the families but to generate a sense of belonging and community. This was done through new refugee families meeting more established refugee families and enabling them to build relationships with each other through activities like dancing, face painting, henna, raffles, and games. Children felt a sense of awe and wonder as each one received a toy and families felt support as they were given warm blankets and gently used household items. The raffle was the highlight of the evening as two big-ticket items were won, a laptop and a smartphone. A college student, originally from Iraq, won the laptop. He plans to use it for his online classes. Another winner was a father from Egypt who won the smartphone. He plans to use it to grow his business while staying connected to his family.
This event also served as a wonderful community-building opportunity for many refugees and immigrants who don’t often get a chance to get together and share their culture. Life intends to continue to offer these community-building events as they leave a lasting and impactful impression on the refugee that experience them.
An Eight-Year-Old Has Raised More Than $1,300 For A Devon Refugee Charity By Swimming 5km
Betsy, an eight-year-old in England read The Boy at the Back of the Class, a novel that tells the story of a refugee through a child's lens and was so moved she decided to swim 5km (3 miles) in February to raise money to support a local refugee organization.
The swimmer said that she felt compassion for young refugees and wanted to do something about it, "I think they'll use the money for clothes, blankets, shoes, all the important stuff that refugees might need to live." She originally only intended to raise $1000 but soon surpassed her goal with many people donating to her cause.
A swim coach of Betsy describes the event "I think it's a great example when you see she's using her swimming skills to help other children and other families. To have her initiative to do a sponsored swim, I think it's captured the imagination of people as she's raised a significant amount of money in a very short time." Betsy plans to continue swimming until the end of February to see how much more money she can raise for the cause.
Palestinians Raise 10 Million Dollars For Syrian Refugees
The Palestinian plight is not a new one and neither is the Syrian one. What they both have in common, is tents. When they were first forced from their homes during the war that surrounded Israel's creation in 1948 many Palestinian refugees lived in tents for years. Syrian refugees have been having a similar experience in recent years and the struggle associated with living in tents has only been exacerbated by the recent cold snaps and heavy snowfalls in Syria.
For six years, the people of Palestine have been donating food, water, and living essentials to Syria. In recent months donations have been unprecedented. The images of displaced families in Syria resonated with the Palestinians so much, it moved them to pick up the pace of donations to the degree that they have now surpassed 10 million dollars in donations. The next stage is helping the Syrian refugees to build around 3,000 housing units. “No more tents” is the sentiment felt in the region. A call for contributions went viral on social media with the Arabic hashtag “houses instead of tents.”