Show Your Support for the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Syrian Refugee Crisis

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced recently that […]

Syrian Refugee Crisis

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced recently that the UK will take 20,000 refugees over the next five years.

Approximately 9 million Syrian refugees have fled their home country since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011.

Openhouse looks at the practical ways you could help provide aid to those in need.

Overview of the Crisis

In March 2011, anti-government demonstrations took place in Syria as part of the Arab Spring. The protests against the government quickly escalated resulting in a violent civil war. (1)

Millions of people fled the country, some crossing the boarders into Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq while others attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.  A total of 3 million Syrians are reported to be living in Syria’s neighboring countries today, and The U.N estimates that thousands more have travelled to Europe.

It has been reported that this year, more than 2,700 people have died attempting to reach Europe, with the majority drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. Those who have reached dry land now live in crowded refugee camps. (2)

Italy and Greece have been trying to manage the increasing amount of refugees who are risking their lives on a daily basis, to cross the sea. A number of charity organisations have been working in these countries to provide first aid, food, water and shelter to the people who arrive on their shores.

Sadly, it is not only men and woman who are traveling in small boats across the Mediterranean but also young children. More than 50% of Syrian refugees are thought to be children, some of whom are now orphans.

This week, refugees in the Hungarian capital of Budapest marched to Vienna in Austria and finally to Munich in Germany, some carrying children, without food, water or shelter.(3) Local people and charity organisation provided the migrants with aid whilst they marched. The video below was filmed by the BBC as the migrants arrived in Germany. (4)

Make a Difference

In times of crisis, we naturally want to help those who are suffering and there are a number of ways you can provide assistance to those in need.

Financial Charity Donation

A number of UK charities have set up appeals to help raise awareness of the crisis and encourage people to dig deep and donate money.

The British Red Cross has launched a Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal on their website where you can donate money to help provide aid. According to their website The Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal will support refugees and communities affected by the crisis across Europe and in neighbouring countries.

Save The Children are focusing their attention on sending teams inside Syria and providing children with the basics they need to survive. They are also working in the neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Egypt to provide urgent relief and long term aid to refugee children and their families.

Unicef are also focusing on providing aid to the youngest of refugees and are asking for a monthly donation online to help to support their work inside Syria as well as delivering humanitarian aid across the region.

The above charities are only a few of the many charity organisations who are helping to providing support and aid to the refugees.

Opening Your Doors

Some people in the UK are offering refugees who need somewhere safe and warm to stay their homes and spare bedrooms.

Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper and Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon are just a few of the faces who have joined thousands of Britons who say they would welcome the migrants into their homes.

Zoe Fritz. a consultant at Cambridge University Hospital recently set up a petition to create an online database of people in Britain who are willing to provide shelter to Syrian refugees.

In a recent interview, Zoe told The Telegraph, ‘ I am asking people to sign if they would be willing to take a family into their home – for a month, six months, a year.’

The petition already has over 3,424 supporters.

Bob Geldof and even the Pope have also come forward to offer refugees a place to stay. (5)

Donating Items

Financial aid is extremely important but there is also a massive demand for items such as books, clothes and toys.

In times of crisis, people often address the physical needs before the mental. More than 50% of Syrian refugees are children who can be vulnerable to psychology trauma, which can affect them in the long term.(6) Toys will comfort a child and also allow them to play. Muslim Aid are currently asking people to donate new or old toys and other items. Donating books will also help improve education and entertainment of children and adults.

Warm clothing is essential for those who are currently living on the streets, in small tents or even in refugee camps.In Europe temperatures can become very cold quickly and so warm clothing is desperately needed to keep people alive. World Vision is just one of the many organisations who are accepting the donation of warm clothing and blankets. To donate or learn more please visit their website: (7)

Hand in Hand for Syria is calling for the donation of warm winter clothing and blankets as according to their website Syria is experiencing one of the coldest winters for 100 years with torrential rain and sub-zero temperatures. (8)

These are just a couple of ways you can help provide urgent aid to the Syrian refugees. Click here for five more practical ways you can help refugees trying to find safety in Europe.