How to Get Involved in Refugee Assistance
Often after hearing or reading a refugee story, our readers ask us the same question - "What Can I Do?"
And while not everyone has the ability to directly volunteer along the border to a conflict, there are opportunities for each individual to contribute in a way that is most meaningful and possible for them. To assist our readers in finding the best venues to support refugees globally and in their communities, we have compiled a list of trusted partners and agencies that serve refugees, as well as places where more information can be viewed on the topic of assistance, resettlement, and ways to get involved.
INVOLVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH WELCOME.US
Organized last year as the world watched the Taliban take over Afghanistan, Welcome.US is a national initiative built to assist, "mobilize, and empower Americans from all corners of the country to welcome and support those seeking refuge" in the United States. Their website provides a list of ways to get involved as an individual, local organization, or as a business, as well as how to find resources as a newcomer, or a helper.
To learn more visit their website.
VOLUNTEER THROUGH JUSTSERVE.ORG
One-stop shop, JustServe.org provides a platform "where the volunteer needs of organizations may be posted and volunteers may search for places to serve in the community, providing opportunities to help those in need and enhance the quality of life in the community."
To learn more about volunteer needs in your area, visit their website. You may search by location, topic, and a number of other criteria that fit your schedule and commitment availability.
DONATE THROUGH LIFTING HANDS INTERNATIONAL (LHI)
LHI is present on the ground in Jordan and Greece, and often partners with local organizations to help meet the needs of the increasing number of refugees globally. Working efficiently, the organization boasts five years of Candid Platinum Transparency award, making it a reliable non-profit to donate to. For more information on how your funds are used, visit their website.
OFFER HOUSING through AirBnb.org
Airbnb.org offers free, short-term housing to refugees in most acute circumstances. Currently, they are offering this service to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine. The efforts are funded by Airbnb, Inc., donors to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, and the generosity of Hosts through Airbnb.org.
Anyone interested in opening their homes to support this effort can learn more about how to get involved on their website.
Miles 4 Migrants utilizes donations of airline miles, credit card points, or travel vouchers to help provide air transportation to refugees.
Check their website how you can donate or pledge your miles, points, or vouchers.
Become a SPonsor through sponsor circles
The Sponsor Circle Program is a resettlement initiative that enables Americans to support an Afghan newcomer to their communities by providing a joint, community-led sponsorship. Interested individuals in a community will be paired through the Sponsor Circle Program with an Afghan individual (or family).
To learn more about becoming a Sponsor, visit their website.
Employ A Refugee – having been forced from their homes refugees are incredibly resilient and eager to work and integrate into their community. If you own a business or are a hiring professional, consider hiring a refugee.
Give Them Your Business - Buy from refugee-owned stores and restaurants.
Help Someone Learn English - You have time, but would prefer to support refugees remotely? No problem! Several organizations have online English mentoring programs in place.
Rugs? Why would they need rugs? Everything I thought I knew about helping someone acclimate to a new country and a new culture flew straight out the window of the resettlement agency that my TSOS colleagues and I were volunteering at.
Start A Community Network – reach out to your community members through neighborhood platforms like neighborhood.com or nextdoor.com or another neighborhood connection platform and organize a safe place for a refugee family to integrate by coordinating housing, transportation, mentoring, and in-kind donations.
Facilitate A Home – Are you a real estate owner? Do you have connections to someone who is? Connect refugees to affordable housing. Contact your local IRC office and offer to rent an apartment or home at below market value.
Become An Interpreter – If you speak any of the languages spoken in refugees' countries of origin (such as Pashto, Ukrainian, Spanish, Swahili, and many more) then you are needed! Volunteer to translate through your local refugee integration offices.
Teach Financial Literacy – Do you have a background in finance or accounting? Mentor an individual or a class on budgeting, tips on saving money, and financial responsibility. Contact your local refugee resettlement agency to volunteer.
This page offers specific opportunities to support Afghan refugees by TSOS Community Program locations.
This page offers specific opportunities to help with the Ukrainian refugees, including an external link to resource pages for the refugees themselves, as well as SM pages where people can coordinate help.
This page offers resources and opportunities to help internally displaced Colombians, and Venezuelan refugees in Colombia.
Their Story is Our Story aims to change the perception of refugees worldwide. We urge local citizens to create communities where newcomers feel supported and safe by contacting your elected officials to express support for refugee resettlement, to volunteer, or donate in-kind or funds.