If they stay, they might possibly lose everything including their lives. If they run, they will definitely lose everything, but maybe not their lives. Risking their lives to flee from their unsafe homeland, refugees are most of the time unwelcomed for they arrive with nothing but their own lives and necessary baggage. Thus, they are financially dependent and socially outcasted.
The neighbouring countries cannot receive all of them as permanent citizens, while their home countries are not safe. Migrating them takes a long process and it can be years until they can be permanently moved, as you can read more about here. Even so, it will not guarantee that starting over can result in success for the challenges are complex.
However, as citizens, we are not completely out of the case. When refugees flee to our country, there are things you can do to help them.
1. Host refugees in your home
This is the initial act you can do for them. You don’t have to look around the house to know that the guest room is vacant. Sure, you’ll have to adjust for having them in your house, but if not your house, they also have nowhere else to go, as asylums have limited number of people they can have in.
2. Volunteer your skills
The main point of refugees economy is self-reliance. They need to learn foreign languages, first things first, and develop a new skill needed in the host country or translate their skills to fit the host country’s need. Thus, it will improve their rate for employment or open their own business to support themselves. As host citizens, sure you can help them with the skills you have and you can always start with teaching them your mother’s tongue.
3. Help them adjust to a new culture
Living in society is not just about understanding the language. Refugees also need to understand the customs of their new country in order to be accepted. But you need to have in mind that when they flee, they also brought their fears and traumas. So, a friendly gesture from the host country, from you as the citizen, will make a great deal for them.
4. Employ refugees or invite them to volunteer
See if your country allows companies to hire refugees. If so, you can help by connecting companies to refugees who fit their needs. If not, you can ask them to volunteer in your country. They can learn about the culture, language and perhaps other skills along the way of volunteering.
5. Hold fundraising events, campaigns or activities to raise awareness
Wherever and whoever you are, you must know that you have more power than the refugees to share awareness about their problem. You will always have more privileges and access than these refugees.
This is the least and most effortless help you can give. You can support their livelihood by donating to their shelters or individually help refugee families make ends meet.
One of our communities, Artbox, supports refugees in Malaysia by helping them to sell, share and also purchase their artworks. The refugees creatively make artworks of various materials, from watercolour to pencil sketch. Check out their page here.
They may not have a professional artistic background, but every one of them has a story to tell through their art. Sometimes the stories didn’t come from their imagination, but their memory of the homeland they left. It’s never too costly to decorate your living space with a little art which you know, deep down, values more than aesthetic: a touch of kindness. Your kindness.
Want to know more about refugees? Perhaps visuals can help you to better understand them. We have 5 documentary films recommended to you about refugees, here.