The UN designates September 21 as World Peace Day. This year, the holiday holds even more important significance as millions flee to a safer haven. This year’s theme is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” with a mission to work together to strive for peace.
"Over the next 100 days, let us stand with the millions of people across the world who are suffering the devastating impact of violence and conflict. Let us share ideas and plans for helping and supporting them in their time of dire need."
–UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
We’ve compiled a list of ways below for US citizens to take action and make our voices and actions heard a world away.
If you have the means, consider donating to a charity to support relief efforts. As always, it is best to do your own research on nonprofits and charitable organizations on sites like CharityNavigator or GuideStar to understand how funds are used.
- Doctors Without Borders:This organization has rescued nearly 12,000 people at risk of drowning since mid-August 2015 via operations in the Mediterranean Sea and continue to offer medical services to refugees in the area.
- Save the Children: According to their website, 5 million Syrian children are in need of assistance of food, clothing, care, and protection from the ongoing war.
- World Vision: This Christian organization has missions in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq and are providing refugees with clean water, food, hygiene items, clothing, and educational services for children.
- CARE: Operating in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, and Syria, this group offers assistance in the form of mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, baby item, and hygiene kits.
Find resources online and learn more about what it means to be a refugee. A refugee is defined as, “people who were forced to flee their home country out of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.” Two places you can begin researching are an online booklet provided for free by The UN Refugee Agency and on their main website as well.
If you hear someone speaking of hate, speak up to respectfully challenge ignorance and correct misinformation. Many refugees are among the middle class in their countries, it takes resources to even attempt to flee. Refute the idea that the perception of a refugee is poor or lazy. Refugees are people, help others to see this point of view.
The photo below shows a before and after in Damascus, Syria. Doing what is right can be hard and sometimes intimidating, but becoming educated on the topic can help you to decide which action is right for you to take.