It’s only been a week since the end of the virtual edition of Refugee Week 2020 but there are still many ways to get involved and continue to imagine a better future. To get started, you can keep practising the Refugee Week’s Simple Acts – everyday actions we can all do to make new connections in our communities. For example, begin with watching a film, sharing a song or reading a book about people who move, migrate or seek sanctuary in a new land. And then, join the wider movement to help ensure that those who need refuge are protected and allowed to thrive. Here are just a few small actions that can really make a difference.
1. Sign a petition
Sometimes even a signature can bring about change. There are many petitions urging for a more welcoming and inclusive country. Lift the Ban is a coalition of over 200 organisations from across the UK calling on the government to give people seeking asylum the right to work. Another urgent plea is from the Refugee Council asking the Home Secretary to protect people seeking asylum during the Covid-19 pandemic. More information here.
2. Support a campaign
If you want to take a stand to improve the lives of refugees in the country, think about supporting a campaign by spreading the word or even joining their coalition. The Families Together campaign puts pressure on the Government to allow more refugee families to be reunited in the UK without the need to make risky and dangerous journeys. Safe Passage helps unaccompanied child refugees in Europe to access their rights. But there are so many others! Here you can find the UNHCR complete list of organisations and campaigns in the UK that you could be a part of.
3. Host a refugee
Do you have a spare room? You could do something really extraordinary with it! Organisations like Action Hosting and Refugees At Home provides accommodation and support to destitute asylum seekers by matching volunteers who offer a spare bedroom in their home with an asylum seeker for an agreed period of time. The volunteers who took part in the project have spoken about some incredible experiences which really helped during the lockdown’s difficult times. Hosting doesn’t only offer help to someone in need but also enriches your life so much.
“Despite all the misfortunes in the world & hostility & hatred of refugees increasing, what surprised me is that many people are still opening their doors with hearts full of love to give us a better life or to make us feel safe & that we are not alone” https://t.co/ZiTFHGmCgl pic.twitter.com/HumFZecaE6
— Refugees at Home (@RefugeesAtHome) June 23, 2020
4. Volunteer for a charity
Time is the most valuable gift you can offer. An amazing way to join the movement is by volunteering for some of the great charities that are really working hard to help refugees and asylum seekers, especially in these hard times. If you are a student, check out STAR’s website, they have societies all across UK universities and so many projects going on which you could take part in. Do you want to help your local community instead? Find the closest City of Sanctuary group to you and join them to work with other local groups and organisations. You can also start your own!
5. Make a donation
You can make a huge impact with your donations. So many charities like Donate4Refugees or RefuAid are relentlessly running amazing projects helping refugees access education, healthcare and employment. They haven’t stopped supporting their networks despite all the challenges of the pandemic and it is thanks to their work that we hear some of the best stories, but they need your support as well.
We are so grateful for the positive outcome and feeling of Refugee Week 2020, but the movement doesn’t stop here, and we have to continue working for all the values we celebrated together. We started imagining how the world could be, now let’s make it happen!