The Syrian Refugee Crisis: The People Respond

Written by Priti Ambani

Sep 3, 2015

The Syrian refugee crisis is a tragic reminder of how humanity needs to respond to a slew of new problems that we are not sure how to handle. No one has all the answers, but we must begin somewhere. Before all of the strategic and formal programs that can emerge to help the people stuck in a situation with no fault of their own, there needs to be a humanitarian response. Gut wrenching images of a toddler’s body washed ashore on a Turkish beach has emerged this week that has shaken people up. How are we responding?

It is no surprise the communities have risen to help and welcome these families torn by war.

Residents in Iceland are ready to Sponsor and help Syrian Refugees

More than 11,000 Icelanders have offered to help refugees with room and board and have created a Facebook page with the aim  “1) to gather useful information about assistance that is available. 2) to create pressure on the government, we want decisions being taken and processes launched immediately! 3) This is a symbolic performance, a forum and a way of thinking and provide information.”

‘Refugees Welcome’ Matches Citizens with Those Seeking a Place to Stay

Airbnb for Refugees, Berlin-based Refugees Welcome,  has helped people fleeing from Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria bu matching them to citizens with availble accommodation. Now, the project, overwhelmed with response from Europeans is looking at expanding to other regions in Europe as well.  

German Football Fans Welcome Refugees

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel’s ground breaking approach will now allow Syrian refugees, who normally would be deported back to wherever they first entered the European Union, to stay in German and apply for asylum. And German citizens were standing by to help. The outpour of help prompted police to appeal to the public to stop bringing gifts for refugees as they had been overwhelmed by the amount of provisions and diapers, people and left behind to help. German football fans held banners that read, “refugees welcome” at a football game. Another German mayor touts the benefits of migration and is looking to help refugees settle in his town. He is confident that it will help revitalise the economy.

Petition to David Cameron for Britain to Step Up 

This petition is on its way to gather 300,000 signatures and has helped put pressure on the UK to step up efforts to rehabilitate feeling families. The petition, organised by The Independent “believes Britain must no longer turn a blind eye to their plight and must work with other European Union countries to set and welcome a quota of refugees.”

The people’s response is helping move bureaucratic red-tape and inaction. The road ahead is long, but here’s a start. Crowdsourcing platforms and techniques can really make a difference to help stabilise these families. We need to see more initiatives that combines technology and connectivity to underscore humanness. It can be done.

The UNHCR sums up the crisis, “As desperation mounts, more people take to the sea to find asylum or jobs. Countries should focus on saving lives, not creating deterrents”

What other stories of hope have you seen? Please share it via a comment.

Image via UNHCR

About Author

About Author

Priti Ambani

Priti Ambani is the Global Media Director at Crowdsourcing Week, a thought leader and prominent writer on social enterprises, start-ups and web 2.0 businesses. Previously, Priti grew Ecopreneurist, a nascent green business blog into a notable social business resource as site director and managing editor. Working from the ground up, she has developed successful business and communications strategies for impact organizations that aim to create social, environment and economic wealth. Priti is a Professional Engineer and holds a Master’s degree in Biological Resources Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. Priti lives in the Washington DC Metro area with her husband and sons, is a lover of the outdoors, traveling and from-scratch cooking!

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