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Refugee charities and organisations you can support from the UK

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Lauren Geall
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Refugees in Greece

The coronavirus pandemic has only worsened conditions for the millions of refugees worldwide – here’s how you can support them during this difficult time and beyond.

Amid the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people across the world are still being forced to flee their homes. Over the last couple of weeks, the European refugee crisis has yet again made headline news as hundreds of people risk the dangerous journey across the English Channel – yesterday, a record number of people took that risk, with at least 409 people crossing in 24 hours. 

Living in the UK, it’s easy to forget about the unimaginable situations being endured by refugees and migrants across the continent on a daily basis – to focus on the struggles we’re currently facing. But as we look away, the number of people who are being forced to flee their homes is growing; according to the UN Refugee Agency, by the end of 2019, 79.5 million individuals were displaced worldwide, with 26 million of those being refugees – the highest number ever seen.

And the coronavirus pandemic has made living life as a refugee even more difficult. Refugee camps often have inadequate water, sanitation and health facilities, making it harder for the people who live there to prevent the spread of the virus and access adequate health care if they fall ill. 

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With all of this going on, it’s easy to feel helpless to do anything to help those affected by the refugee crisis. But thanks to the tireless work of charities and organisations supporting and advocating for refugees across Europe and the rest of the world, there are things we can do to help.

Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of refugee charities and organisations that you can support 

  • Women For Refugee Women

    Women For Refugee Women support refugee and asylum-seeking women in the UK, empowering them to speak out about their experiences seeking safety in this country and advocate for change.

    They are currently raising money for refugee women who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic – so far, they’ve supported women who have been made homeless, women who are struggling to feed their children and women too afraid to seek the healthcare they desperately need. They are also connecting women with other forms of support to help them through the crisis.

  • Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN)

    The Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) supports young refugees and asylum seekers who arrive in the UK to live safe, successful and independent lives. Alongside advocating for young people to receive the best support and services upon their arrival, KRAN also provide education and independent living skills to support young people to progress and build a new life.

    They are currently raising money to support the young asylum-seekers and refugees who have arrived in Kent over the last couple of months and ensure they’re able to support as many young people as possible – you can find out more on their Crowdfunder page.  

  • The UN Refugee Agency

    The UN Refugee Agency is a leading organisation which provides assistance for refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people across the world and helps them to rebuild their lives in their new home.

    During the coronavirus pandemic they have been working on the ground to ensure refugees have access to proper health, water and sanitation services, but they need more donations to ensure they can help priority countries which host large populations of refugees to prevent and respond to outbreaks. 

  • The Refugee Council

    The Refugee Council was founded in 1951 in response to the UN Convention for Refugees, which was created after World War II to ensure refugees were able to find safety in over countries. Today, they support the thousands of refugees who arrive in the UK each year, providing crisis advice, practical support and helping them to integrate into their new communities.

  • Indigo Volunteers

    Indigo Volunteers is a coordination team based in Greece who are working with grassroots organisations to support refugees across Greece, Serbia, Bosnia, France, Turkey and Lebanon. Their work helps to fill the gaps in basic aid in the camps, helping to provide integral services such as mobile medical support and running community centres.

    They are also now accepting volunteer applications for people who are able to start within the next eight weeks and able to volunteer for four weeks or more – you can find out more information, including their Covid-19 safety guidelines, on their website. 

  • Help Refugees

    Help Refugees is a charity dedicated to getting funds to people who need them as soon as possible. What started as a hashtag in 2015 is now an organisation which provides vital aid including food, search and rescue boats and long-term accommodation. They do this by supporting local organisations on the ground to ensure people who are in urgent need get help quickly and efficiently.

    They are currently raising money via their coronavirus emergency appeal to provide medical help, emergency isolation accommodation and sanitary products to people living in refugee camps.

  • Safe Passage

    Safe Passage is an organisation which campaigns for child refugees to have access to legal routes to safety. They also provide legal support and help child refugees to be reunited with their family once they reach the UK.

    Alongside donating money, you can also help Safe Passage by campaigning with them or volunteering your time to support their work on the ground. They also have an ongoing petition to the UK Government to ensure child refugees continue to be reunited with their families after Brexit, which you can sign here.

  • Refugee Action

    Refugee Action is a registered charity working to support refugees and asylum-seekers who arrive in the UK to build safe, happy and productive lives. Alongside providing expert advice and guidance to those navigating the UK’s asylum system, they also campaign for change to the UK’s asylum process to ensure every person who comes to the UK seeking safety is given a chance at a new life. 

Further ways you can help refugees

If you’re looking for ways to support refugees in your local area, this guide from the government has everything you need to know to get started.

To find out more about the refugee crisis, including how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the situation, you can check out our Refugee Week 2020 guide for more resources and further reading.

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