Imagine for a moment, you were told you have 1 month to escape your country. Or else, you, and the people you love, will face 3 possible outcomes – be killed, tortured or starved to death.
This scenario is the harsh reality for 60 millions people who are forcibly displaced people across the world.
20 millions are estimated to be refugees, with the majority coming from Syria. The numbers had hit all time high in recorded history in the fall of 2015. The world has never seen this many refugees since World War II.
Up until October 2015, 1 out of every 100 people on Earth is currently a refugee.
Alone in September 2015, up to 1,000,000 refugees fled to Europe from Syria with the hope of finding a new home. The sad truth is that majority do not make it alive to their destination.
According to UN Refugee Agency, the Refugee Crisis is only expected to worsen in the remaining of 2015. With war, violence, poverty, persecution and oppression remaining as the main factors that forces people from their homes.
World leaders are now calling for urgent actions, with President Obama recently stating in the United Nations General Assembly – ” In the old ways of thinking, the plight of the powerless, refugees, and the marginalized did not matter. Today, helping people who have been pushed to the margins of our world is not mere charity, it is a matter of collective security. ”
Following the statement, United States has announced it will increase the number of refugees the US accepts each year to 100,000 by 2017.
After a series of debates, leaders from European countries also opened up their boarders to accept refugees. With Germany, known to have accepted most refugees in the past decades, promised to further accepts 800,000 refugees in the next 3 years.
Great, problem solved. Not so fast.. what about the other 99% refugees in the world?
Earlier this month, President Obama urged everyone and anyone to help in any way. With his own words: ” This isn’t just about what I can do as President. Every single one of us – from citizens to NGOs – can help refugees find safe haven. ”
President Obama is saying ”Everyone of us can make a powerful difference.” In fact, he is right.
Here are 5 impressive yet solid things you can do that will turn you into a hero for millions of refugees.
1) Become A Refugee Yourself
“You cannot understand a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes”. – Famous American Proverb
Yes, you can become a refugee today. And no, this is not a joke.
Being a refugee is now made possible by the simulation game ‘’ The Refugee Run’’ hosted by Crossroads Foundation. The experience promise to offer you first hand physical encounter in the lives of many refugees, including their biggest struggles, fear and choices that refugees must face for survival.
‘’Surreal’’, ‘’Blood Pumping!’’ and ‘’Humbling, Inspiring, Provoking’’ ’’ are some of the words used by participants to describe their feelings after the experience.
Designed by refugees, members from UN and user experience experts, ‘’The Refugee Run’’ is a realistic scenario game that allows you to experience issues such as ethnic conflict, military arrogance, genocide, religious persecution and corruption. In Hong Kong, their famous Experience Centre is located in Tuen Mun.
“Beautifully done.” – Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Limited
“A profound experience that reminds us of the lives of millions of forcibly displaced people.” – Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations“Everyone should do this. It will change the way you see life.” – Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
Thinking of going to cinema to watch another average movie? Think again. It’s time to experience something like never before, but be warn to have your world turn upside down.
2) Uniting Your Power – Crowdfunding campaign.
It’s an amazing platform and any amount of money can help. To put you into perspective, just $30 could provide 50 people with drinking water. Within 2 days, the campaign raised over $1 million.
If you want to rise up to the call for refugees, there are a list of reliable organizations you can donate to other than UNHCR, including:
3)Be Informed & Break the Silence.
Global communities requires global connection. And to power of connection, one great example would be the image of a young boy who died on the beach trying to flee the war in Syria. The widely circulated photo on social media served as a valuable ‘’wake up call’’ to the world about the crisis.
With so much information and opinion flying across the media, it is easy for people to believe in myths that are influenced by political and business interests. For example Donald Trump warns that all refugees are secretly ISIS terrorists.
Don’t buy into unfounded accusation, which will only be used to worsen this crisis. Refugees are human beings, no different from you or me.
So next time as you switch on your TV or computers, don’t switch off your brain. Make sure you are getting the facts from reliable sources, such as the UNHCR, recommended by Refugee & Migration Expert – Metin Çorabatır.
Don’t let people ignore this. This is happening now and requires imminent attention. Most of us are devices more than we’d like to admit. Use this habit into your advantage and share information about the crisis on social media.
Recently online petitions from all over the world have been launched, including the popular petition to the British government calling for a more compassionate Europe-wide response to the crisis.
This is your opportunity to be the voice for the voiceless.
4) Be Entrepreneurial and Bold.
Thousands of people across the world are disappointed with how their governments respond to the migration crisis. Nonetheless, they are inventing new ways to help refugees crossing into Europe.
Mareike Geiling set up ‘Refugees Welcome’ – an “Airbnb for refugees” – in order to offer refugees a home in a shared flat of any city. Despite Germany offering more asylum places than any other European country, Geiling witnessed first hand that young people liked to do more to help.
In an Interview with Guardian UK, Geiling said “There is a discrepancy between the government and the will of the citizens,” “Our European, way of seeing ourselves will change within the next decade. The people coming here shouldn’t be seen as a threat but as a chance.”
But it’s not just German people helping out. Thousands of Icelanders offered their homes to Syrian refugees last week, after an open letter to the government about the migration crisis was posted on Facebook. And people in the UK without any humanitarian training have been travelling to Refugee concentrated areas to help in any way they can.
Ordinary people with a simple heart, without humanitarian aid training, are helping those caught up in the migration crisis.
5) Engage & Take actions for the refugees around you.
Going to the city of Hong Kong. We often say we are ‘Asia’s World City’, but in reality we behave like a village. It is time for us to live up to what we aspire to be.
Other than the ‘The Refugee Run’ there are some innovative opportunities in Hong Kong to volunteer to tackle the global refugee crisis.
‘ Vision First ’, an innovative Non Government Organization for refugees founded in Hong Kong. They are well known in their ability to empower refugees to resist social injustice and strengthening them with knowledge, skills and self worth.
How can you get involved?
‘ Vision First ‘ is supported by an enthusiastic team of corporate, students and individual volunteers. The organization is known for its creative voluntary work that’s adapts to the individuals volunteer’s capacity, skills, interest and time.
From contributing remotely at home by editing, writing, photo-shoot, to organizing your own fundraising and crowdsourcing events for refugee.
So here you go. 5 fun ways for you to powerfully help 20 millions people. And you can be sure there are struggling refugees around you that desperate need your help.
Whether you donate resources, live the life of a refugee or simply tweet about it, even your smallest effort can help the millions of refugees worldwide.
We cannot afford to live in ignorance or pretend this isn’t happening. This is a global crisis: keyword, “global.” It’s up to all of us to shine our lights on it.