CRS Reaches 1 Million Syrian Refugees: 7 Ways You Can Help

Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS

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Since the start of the Syrian conflict 5 years ago, more than 4.2 million refugees have fled to the Middle East. More than half of them are children. Thus far, Catholic Relief Services has supported more than 1 million people affected by the conflict.

“The scale of the suffering is devastating” said Kevin Hartigan, CRS Regional Director for Europe and the Middle East, who has overseen the response for the past four years “but as Pope Francis reminds us, there are human faces behind the staggering statistics.  Each of the millions of displaced Syrians is an individual uprooted from a full life, a family member, a loved one”.

In Jordan, we are working with our partner Caritas Jordan to provide learning opportunities for more than 6,000 Syrian children who have been displaced by the conflict. Our services include informal educational activities and psychosocial support as well as shelter, food and mediacal care. We're assisting thousands more Syrian children, primarily in Lebanon and Turkey.

The war in Syria has killed as many as 250,000 Syrians, and has left half the country’s population — approximately 11 million people —displaced and destitute, whether inside or outside Syria. They have fled as refugees to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt. Thousands continue to reach Europe in search of safety and a better life.

Catholic Relief Services and our partners are there on the ground, in Europe and the Middle East, providing assistance to families in need. Here are seven ways you can make a difference in the lives of people who have left their homes behind due to violence and war.  

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, while 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.

2. Donate

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. Donate now.

3. Fundraise

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. Set up your own fundraising page.

4. Advocate

CRS is calling on the United States to continue and expand humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, especially to countries in the Middle East, that have for years been sheltering the largest number of Syrians and Iraqis, as well as to countries burdened by this new migration. Most importantly, the United States should lead concerted diplomatic efforts to end the fighting in Syria. Read more about how our nation's leaders can respond to the crisis, and write a letter urging them to take up the cause.

5. Use Social Media

Follow and retweet @CatholicRelief, @CRSNews, @CBrennanCRS, @KimPoz and @ngamer19 on Twitter for the latest updates on the #RefugeeCrisis that’s reached Europe. Also, share this image on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.

6. Pray

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. Find out about the people so many are now afraid of, and support organizations such as Migration and Refugee Services, your local Catholic Charities or by volunteering to help refugees in your own area through local refugee resettlement centers.