CRS Reaches 1.25 Million Syrian Refugees: 7 Ways You Can Help
March marks the eighth year of Syria’s internal armed conflict, one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. It has uprooted more than half of the population from their homes and forced 5.6 million Syrians to flee to neighboring countries. While some areas are stable and communities are trying to recover, other parts of the country continue to be subject to heavy rocket and mortar attacks. Since the crisis began in 2011, life expectancy among Syrians has dropped by more than 20 years.
Lebanon now hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees—equivalent to more than 20 percent of its population—while Jordan hosts 670,000. The influx has strained public services, especially the schools, and refugees have limited livelihood and education opportunities. Many children have been out of school for years, making it hard for them to integrate back into the classroom. Stress and trauma also interfere with their learning.
CRS and our partners in Lebanon and Jordan are providing comprehensive support for communities and families. Our work includes education, psychosocial support, shelter and rent assistance, living supplies, food, medical assistance, and sanitation and hygiene. 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.
- Syrian Refugees: Meet the People Everyone's Talking About
- The Washington Post features 6 Syrians making the journey to Europe
- Coming to the Aid of Refugees, One Patient at a Time
- Translators Help Refugees Navigate Strange Lands
- Two videos of CRS at work on the crisis: “Serbia: At the Heart of Europe's Refugee Crisis” and “Serbia: Translation for Refugees Provides Critical Help”
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.
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.
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. Help advocate for refugees and migrants.
5. Use Social Media
Follow and retweet @CatholicRelief, @CRSNews, @CBrennanCRS, @KimPoz, @meganpgilbert and @ngamer19 on Twitter for the latest updates on the #RefugeeCrisis.
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.