By now, we've probably all seen coverage of the atrocities in Syria all over our newsfeeds. Hopefully, we're left asking the question: what can I do? In light of recent discussions amongst ROIers, we wanted to compile some ideas for how we can all get involved.
This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have ideas to add or if you have information that suggests one of these causes may be illegitimate, please share with us.
How can I take action?
- Donate warm clothing and blankets to Syrian refugees through an Israeli initiative called חום אנושי (Operation Human Warmth). Supplies can be dropped off at one of 16 locations in Israel by January 12, and they will be distributed by an aid organization.
- Write a letter to a Syrian refugee to let them know you care. (It will be translated into Arabic.)
- Volunteer through HIAS (New York or DC) by becoming an English conversation partner for a refugee, providing pro bono legal assistance, translating, and more.
- Host an event to fundraise and raise awareness.
- Share your home through Refugees Welcome, a service like Airbnb for refugees looking for places to stay. They operate in several European countries and Canada. Read about their success here.
- If you have an organization that already does or is interested in taking action for Syrian refugees, such as by hosting an awareness event, collecting supplies, or raising money, join the Multifaith Alliance of over 70 faith-based and secular organizations. The list includes many well-known Jewish orgs like HIAS, the Anti-Defamation League, Federation, Jewish Funders Network, and more.
- If you're a US citizen, write to your congressperson and sign petitions for the US to help refugees.
- Find out about other ways to take action through the Multifaith Alliance.
Where can I donate?
There are so many amazing organizations responding to this conflict that we can't possibly list them all, but here are a few good ones. Whether they're helping refugees resettle in different parts of the world, providing supplies or medical care to those still in Syria, or helping in other ways, these organizations deserve your attention.
- IsraAID: An Israel-based humanitarian aid organization that responds to natural disasters and conflicts around the world, including helping Syrian refugees.
- JDC's Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief: Working with a partner organization on the ground to provide food, medicine, clean water, and shelter to evacuees from Aleppo.
- World Jewish Relief: A UK-based nonprofit that is providing supplies, clothing, shelter, and food to support Syrian refugees in Greece and Turkey.
- HIAS: A US-based Jewish nonprofit dedicated to helping refugees from around the world. Specifically in regards to Syrian refugees, they provide legal services, support resettlement in the US, advocate for the US government to increase support for refugees, and work to create welcoming communities.
- The White Helmets: A grassroots search-and-rescue squad on the ground in Syria that saves victims after attacks. It's estimated that they've saved over 73,500 lives. Donations go towards medical care for injuries sustained during rescue missions and financial help to families of volunteers killed in action.
- Syrian American Medical Society Foundation: Providing medical care on the ground in Syria, including both emergency treatment and other services such as dialysis, dental, blood banks, X-rays, and OBGYN.
- Just Beyond the Border: An Israeli initiative to bring goods such as blankets, clothing, medicine, and food to children in Syria. Read more about it in this Times of Israel article.
Thank you for getting involved! If you have feedback on these suggestions or ideas for other ways to help, please be in touch!
Photo credit: Syria Solidarity UK