Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, gang violence, and other difficult situations outside of their control. When refugees come to the United States, they often don't know anyone in their new city and may not even speak the language yet. With the war in Ukraine and other global issues, refugeeism is on the rise. Luckily, there are specific things you can do to offer help to refugees, starting with these three items:
Volunteer as a First Friend
Many cities with refugee populations offer "first friend" programs. This is where you sign up as a volunteer to be the main source of support for a newly arrived refugee or refugee family. You will join them for meals, take them on outings to show them their new home, and answer questions they have about life in America.
Being a first friend is a way to have a major impact on a refugee or refugee family, giving them a positive initial experience in their new home. This volunteer role simply requires basic kindness and a willingness to devote a few hours a week to your assigned refugee family.
Volunteer as an English Tutor
Many refugees actively work to improve their English so that they can better assimilate and have better employment prospects. Many cities offer English classes specifically designed for refugees and other immigrants. If you are patient, good at explaining things, and like working with people, this can be an amazing volunteer role.
Many English schools for refugees and immigrants provide training and supplies so that you can learn how to effectively teach even those students who speak no English at all. Of course, if you have teaching experience, this role will be an even more ideal fit.
Donate Goods or Services
Many refugees are offered temporary housing while they get their feet on the ground, but these apartments are typically furnished solely by volunteers. In many cases, refugees may start out without even the basics like dishes or towels. Contact a refugee outreach organization in your area to see what household items are most needed.
In some cases, you can also donate services. For example, if you are experienced with resume writing, you can help a refugee with their job search. If you own a hair salon, you can offer free haircuts to a local refugee family.
Helping a refugee or refugee family by following the ideas in this article will give you peace of mind and likely lead to lasting friendships as well. For more information on refugee assistance, contact a professional near you.Share