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3 Ways You Can Help Refugees

Have you ever had a moment that totally changed the direction of your life? The first time I learned about refugees was one of those moments for me. 

It was 2015, and a friend told me how thousands of refugees were arriving in Europe in search of safety. I was vaguely aware of the war in Syria and that people were being forced to flee their homes, but I had never stopped and considered — Who are these refugees? Why are they fleeing and is there something I can do to help? 

Later that day, I went searching for answers. I read headline after headline about the global conflicts, pressures and persecutions that drive people from their homes. My heart broke. 

As the daughter of a military family, I knew in my own, small way what it meant to start life over in a new place. While I would never compare my relatively comfortable and safe upbringing to the unimaginable journeys refugees are forced to undertake, I began to wonder: If I needed a caring community around me when I was the newcomer, how much more deserving are refugees of welcoming and supportive neighbors? 

Ultimately, those questions led me to work for World Relief, an organization that has been bringing Christ followers together to walk alongside refugees and displaced persons for 80 years

Malian was resettled in South Carolina after fleeing his home in Burma.

As part of the World Relief team, I’ve witnessed first-hand how our responsiveness to the needs of refugees and displaced persons has transformed lives. For refugees like Malian, who fled religious persecution in his home country of Burma, the welcome he received from World Relief staff and volunteers led to a flourishing new life as a barista and coffee aficionado. 

And for young women like Buthainah, whose family escaped war in Iraq. World Relief was there for her and her sisters as they adjusted to life and school in the U.S. Today, Buthainah holds a PhD in organometallic chemistry and is a voice for justice in her community.

Their stories are just two of the many examples of how World Relief has been a life-line of compassion for refugees and displaced people across the globe. 

How You Can Help Refugees

Stories like Malian’s and Buthainah’s are what inspire me to keep asking myself how I can help my global refugee neighbors in need. And they’re what bring me to you (yes you!) today — sharing how you can help refugees, too. 

Tragically, the number of refugees in the world has only grown over the last decade. The U.N. estimates 43.4 million refugees are currently displaced outside their home countries due to war, persecution and violence. That’s 22.1 million more than the 21.3 million refugees displaced by the end of 2015.

If this breaks your heart, I’m right there with you. But I also believe that we were created and called for such a time as this. God has placed us in this very moment of history, and we have the opportunity to be his loving hands and feet in the lives of our refugee neighbors.

Here are three ways that you and I can help refugees today:

1. Give to Support Refugees

Giving is an impactful way to immediately respond to the needs of refugees around the world.

One reason I’m a passionate advocate for giving to World Relief is because of the way we holistically engage with the world’s most pressing crises. Not only do we welcome refugees resettling in the U.S., but we also respond to displacement emergencies around the globe while building resilience in vulnerable communities to counteract the drivers of mass displacement — but we can’t do this vital work without people like you.

When you give today, you can help us build a future where families and communities impacted by displacement flourish and thrive.

Here’s just a glimpse of what your gift can do:

Donation frequency: MonthlyOnce

$25/mo over a year

can provide English learning materials and workbooks for 12 refugees and other immigrants in the U.S.

GH-Monthly-Shelter Repair
$30/mo over a year

can provide training on psychosocial support skills for 12 essential workers serving among displaced people globally

$80/mo over a year

can provide a shelter repair kit to 12 families whose homes were destroyed in a natural disaster

$100/mo over a year

can provide a welcome kit containing kitchen supplies, bedding, hygiene and other household items to 12 newly arrived refugee families in the U.S.

2. Volunteer Alongside Refugees

Welcoming and walking alongside refugees in your local community can be one of the most transformative ways to help — for both those you serve and yourself. And there are many ways to volunteer at World Relief! 

As refugees are rebuilding their lives, they’re also reestablishing their support networks. Whether you lend a helping hand as an English tutor, youth mentor or transportation volunteer, you can play an important role in helping newcomers navigate their new homes.

One of my favorite ways to serve is as part of a Good Neighbor Team. These teams of 6-12 volunteers from a local church or group of friends commit to walking alongside refugees and other immigrants experiencing vulnerability during their first six months in the U.S. 

We can help you start a Good Neighbor Team in your community, wherever you live in the U.S.

3. Learn More About Refugees

If you feel moved to help refugees, learning is one of the best places to start. While every refugee’s story is unique, it’s important to understand the global context surrounding refugees, as well as some of the common challenges and barriers both refugees and the communities that welcome them face. 

Through World Relief’s Workshop, we provide practical online courses you can take any time. Combining decades of expertise, these courses will give you the information and tools you need to effectively walk alongside newcomers in your community as they rebuild their lives. 

Not sure where to begin? Try our free, 45-minute Intro to Resettlement course to learn more about refugees and the resettlement process.

Are you a pastor or church leader? Here are some free teaching tools to help your church learn more about refugees.

Will You Help Refugees Today?

The scale of the world’s displacement crisis is profound. But I am firmly convinced that when committed Christ-followers engage with the world’s most pressing crises, we can make a difference together. 

Since the day I learned about refugees in 2015, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside both refugees and the communities that welcome them, serving at times as an English teacher, volunteer coordinator, storyteller and more. I have witnessed first-hand the powerful truth that a simple “yes” to loving and serving those in need can be life changing.

From Ukraine to Haiti to the Middle East, Sudan and beyond, the needs of refugees and displaced people are urgent. But together, there’s much we can do to help.

Will you say yes to helping refugees today?

Did you know monthly giving is one of the most sustainable ways to help refugees wherever and whenever they need help most? Join our committed and passionate community of monthly givers today. 

Kelly Hill is the Senior Content Writer at World Relief. She previously served as Volunteer Services Manager at World Relief Triad in North Carolina. With a background in International and Intercultural Communication, she is passionate about the power of story to connect people of diverse experiences. 

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