We are in the midst of the world's worst refugee crisis in history. A crisis that brings with it overwhelming numbers, huge challenges for countries and communities affected, untold misery -- and hope.
More than 65 million people are now counted as forcibly displaced by the United Nations. To help you wrap your head around that giant number: That's like the entire population of the UK or France, or about as many as everyone in New York state, Texas and Florida -- all forced from their homes. Just over one-third are refugees, people forced to flee their countries because of persecution, war, or violence.
Fortunately there are good people and great organizations offering assistance, which we should support.
1- United States Fund For UNICEF
UNICEF is a branch of the United Nations that focuses on helping children around the world. It has established an emergency relief response for Syria, where a sobering 80 percent of children have been affected by the civil war.
“I am imploring the American people to not only watch, listen and grieve, but to join us in taking action on behalf of the most vulnerable ― the children of Aleppo,” said Caryl M. Stern, UNICEF’s president and CEO. “They need us now more than ever.”
Donations to UNICEF USA’s Syria mission go toward supporting children’s basic needs, including proper medical care, clean water and nutritional food. Donate HERE.
2- Save The Children
Save The Children works on the ground across Syria to distribute thousands of food baskets and medical kits to children and their families. The group is issuing a global appeal for $27 million to support its efforts in the city of Aleppo, where thousands of children are still in dire need of aid. Donations will help STC provide immediate and long-term care and protection to Syria’s children. Donate HERE.
3- The White Helmets
Also known as the Syria Civil Defense, the White Helmets are a group of volunteers based in Syria who rush to victims’ aid when disaster strikes. So far, the group has saved more than 78,529 lives. The rescue workers’ bravery earned them a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2016, and their short documentary film won an Oscar this year. Donations to the White Helmets’ Hero Fund support wounded rescuers and families of victims, and go toward purchasing rescue equipment. Donate HERE.
4- Syrian American Medical Society
The Syrian American Medical Society is a health care relief agency that works inside Syria and its neighboring countries to treat the sick and injured. SAMS treated more than 2.6 million Syrians in 2016.
“The humanitarian organizations that work in Syria need to be protected and supported,” SAMS President Ahmad Tarakji told The WorldPost. “This isn’t a political conflict, it’s a humanitarian crisis ― the response should be built upon that principle.”
Donations to SAMS support doctors and health care workers at the organization’s 106 medical facilities. Donate HERE.
5- Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières, is an organization that provides medical care where it is needed most. Some MSF-supported hospitals in Aleppo and beyond have been destroyed in attacks, leaving communities with limited access to health care for extended periods of time. Donations to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate allow MSF-supported medical facilities to treat even more victims of war. Donate HERE.
6- International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee focuses its relief efforts not only several schools and health facilities within Syria, but also in surrounding countries like Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, where millions of Syrians have fled throughout the conflict. The IRC also works in the United States to help resettle refugees from Syria. It is supporting vulnerable families who fled Aleppo by giving them money to buy food and other necessities. Donate HERE.
7- Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Relief USA is a U.S.-based humanitarian organization that seeks to alleviate poverty and suffering in countries including Syria. The organization says its donors have helped more than 9.5 million people through Syria projects to date. IRUSA has been supporting people in Aleppo for years, including providing food to 72,000 people who were under siege, but stresses the urgency for increased support.
“We are very concerned that what happened in Aleppo may happen in other areas such as Idlib, where we are also working,” said CEO Anwar Khan. “We are asking the international community to do more to provide safe spaces for civilians inside Syria.” Donate HERE.
8- Clowns Without Borders
Clowns Without Borders USA promotes Resilience Through Laughter. They bring levity, contemporary clown/circus-oriented performances and workshops into communities, so that community members can celebrate together and find relief from the tensions that darken their daily lives. They enable the development of resilience through laughter. They offer psychosocial support through play, restorative narrative, and collaborative communication. They seek to raise awareness of affected populations and to promote a spirit of global solidarity. Because sometimes, laughter is the only medicine. Donate HERE.