Right now, there are more than 65 million displaced people globally. To put that in perspective – imagine every single person living in Melbourne being forced to up and leave their homes tomorrow because of war, lack of food or violence. Now multiply that number of people by 17.
More than half of the world's 65 million displaced people are children. Fewer than 1% find settlement and safety each year.
Australia may feel far away from the refugee crises in Syria, Myanmar and Uganda, but there is so much we can do to help. This Refugee Week, ask yourself: "How can I help refugees?"
How can I help refugees in Australia?
In the 10 years leading up to 31 December 2015, Australia has taken in 130,000 refugees. As Save the Children policy advisor Lisa Button said, "We know Australians have big hearts and welcome people from all over the globe."
But what can you do for refugees arriving in Australia and settling into your community? Here are several organisations and community groups you can join in assisting people when they arrive on our shores.
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
The ASRC are a support organisation for asylum seekers who need aid, legal support, education, health care and general support services. To help, you can make a donation, volunteer or provide food and other material items to the ARSC.
Australian Refugee Council
The Australian Refugee Council is the national body for refugees and the organisations who support them. They provide support services and advocate for policy change. You can volunteer, donate goods or join one of their campaigns.
West Welcome Wagon
West Welcome Wagon provide material aid to asylum seekers living in Victoria. You can assist by volunteering, donating goods or making a financial donation.
Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative
The Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (CRSI) is a joint project of the Refugee Council of Australia, Amnesty International Australia, Save the Children Australia, Welcome to Australia, Rural Australians for Refugees and the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce. CRSI advocates for a new federal program that harnesses the generosity of ordinary Australians to see refugees successfully integrated into our communities. You can find out more about CRSI here
Save the Children
Save the Children works in every corner of the country and in some of the most remote places on earth to make sure children – including refugees and asylum seeker children – are safe, healthy and on track for a positive future. Save the Children run a program for refugee families in Australia [in WA and Tasmania] called It Takes a Village
. You can donate here
to continue Save the Children's work with refugee families and children.
Welcome to Australia
Welcome to Australia is an organisation committed to a more welcoming and inclusive Australia. Welcome to Australia created the Walk Together campaign, which you can get involved in or you can also make a donation.
RISE Refugee Survivors and Ex-Detainees
(RISE) is the first organisation to be run and governed by refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees. You can volunteer with this organisation and also get involved in their campaigns.
The Social Studio
On the surface, The Social Studio is a fashion business, but behind the scenes, it's an enterprise helping young Australians refugees and migrants who have experienced issues accessing employment or education. To support the Social Studio, you can visit their shop in Collingwood, volunteer or make a financial donation to their educational or social support programs.
SisterWorks is a not for profit that assists women migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to become financially independent and happily settled in Australia. The women make and sell their crafts but they also run workshops to teach their crafts. If you would like to help SisterWorks, there are a variety of volunteer positions available and you can also make a financial donation.
Kindred Kindness exist to offer friendship and support to asylum seekers in detention or who have recently moved into community. You can help by making a financial donation or donating goods.
Banner image: Mark Kaye/Save the Children