Ways to Help

While more than 5,000 miles may separate Boston and Syria, there are concrete steps people can take locally to have an impact on the lives of Syrians and other refugees. These actions may seem small when taken alone, but with concerted efforts by enough people, the inadequate humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis can begin to change.

  • Donate
    • The importance of donations from individuals and organizations cannot be understated. Support the work of international humanitarian agencies doing work in Syria such as:
  • Organize a donation drive
    • Get your office, campus, or community to contribute.
      • NuDay Syria is collecting donations for emergency food, sleeping bags, and other critical supplies for Eastern Ghouta. Or help long term by sponsoring a school or fuel a well.
      • Running a marathon this year? Consider fundraising for refugees. Organize a charity dinner, a school event, anything you can to pool your social network’s resources to help.
  • Volunteer
  • Open your home or be a mentor
    • Many communities have created services for families and individuals to offer spare bedrooms for refugees, or become a mentor and help a refugee family transition into their new lives,
  • Educate yourself or others
    • Misconceptions about refugees and other migrants create toxic political environments that stop anything from being done. The failure to see refugees and migrants as fellow human beings enables xenophobia. Only by actively engaging with the refugee
      experience and other citizens can opinions begin to change.
  • Bring attention to the issues
    • Amplify the voices and needs of Syrians and other refugees by sharing their stories and related calls to action on social media.
  • Contact your representatives
    • Ask your Massachusetts local representatives to support refugees in your community.
    • Ask Congress to increase humanitarian refugee quotas and support immigrant rights.
  • Organize in your communities
    • People are powerful when they act together. Remember that friend who’s been posting articles about the refugee crisis? Reach out to see if they are already in a group or want to form one. Grassroots movements to advocate for better refugee policies and increased aid can be extremely effective, even if they start small.

The above actions are largely local, because individuals can have the most direct impact where they live. But the countries hosting the vast majority of the world’s refugees lack the resources necessary to sustain the frontline refugee response, and they are in desperate need of more support from the international community.

If you can only do one thing: please consider a donation to UNHCR.

Thank you to Vicky Kelberer and the Boston University Pardee School Initiative on Forced Migration, migrant@bu.edu for her help in compiling this list, drawn in part from her Huffington Post blog: 10 Things You Can Do From Boston to Help Refugees.