Refugees today are displaced for 17 years on average—almost twice as long as refugees 20 years ago. Half of the 65 million displaced today are children, and this “lost generation” could spend their entire childhood without a place to call home.
While refugees come from everywhere—from Latin America to Afghanistan—the largest group is from Syria. Since conflict broke out there in 2011, 4.1 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries and another 6.5 million have been internally displaced. Catholic Relief Services has provided short- and long-term assistance to more than 1 million people affected by the civil war in Syria:
- Education and trauma counseling for children
- Food and emergency living supplies
- Shelter and rent assistance
- Health care
- Small business grants, business and vocational training
- Information, translation and legal services
“The scale of the suffering is devastating. As Pope Francis reminds us, there are human faces behind the staggering statistics. ”— Kevin Hartigan, CRS regional director for Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.
While Catholic Relief Services is providing support to those in need, this crisis is turning into one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies today. Here are 7 ways you can make a difference in the lives of Syrian refugees.
17 years is too many to lose.
1. LEARN MORE
The more you learn about this crisis, the more you’ll understand its underlying causes and can spread the word. Continued warfare in Syria, and violence in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, has contributed to the surge of refugees from those countries. Meanwhile, deteriorating economic conditions in places like Sub-Saharan Africa has led people to Europe in search of a better life.
Here are some good resources for you.
Read and Act:
- What We Are Doing: CRS’ Support of Syrian Refugees
- Syrian Refugees: Meet the People Everyone’s Talking About
- What Would You Do? Syrian Refugees: Starting Up and Starting Over
- Helping Syrian Refugees: By the Numbers
Watch and Engage:
- The Beauty of Serving Refugees
- Supporting Syrian Refugee Children Through Education
- All Of This Is Possible Because of You
One of the best ways to help is through donating to accredited nonprofit organizations that are responding to the crisis. More than 90 percent of money donated to CRS goes directly to people in need.
You can provide direct assistance by setting up a page to raise money to support our emergency efforts. Your support will ensure that we can provide immediate assistance, including food, water, access to sanitation, legal services and medical care.
For years, countries in the Middle East have been sheltering the largest number of Syrians and Iraqis. CRS is calling on the United States to continue and expand humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in these countries, as well as those burdened by this new migration. Most importantly, the United States should lead concerted diplomatic efforts to end the fighting in Syria.
5. USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Follow and retweet @CatholicRelief and @CRSNews on Twitter for the latest updates on the #RefugeeCrisis that’s reached Europe. Also, share the memes on this page on your social media channels to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.
Pray for protection for refugees—particularly those fleeing Northern Africa for Europe—as well as for personal transformation as we face the needs of refugees everywhere, by using this Prayer for Refugees.
7. SUPPORT REFUGEES IN THE UNITED STATES
Although CRS works exclusively overseas, there are many ways to help refugees in the United States. Let Capitol Hill know this issue matters to you and we need to do more together. Support organizations such as Migration and Refugee Services and your local Catholic Charities. You can also volunteer to help refugees in your own area through local refugee resettlement centers.