helping refugees as a volunteer
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Considering Helping Refugees as a Volunteer

According to the UNHCR, there are currently 65 million displaced persons around the world. Many of who are refugees have fled violence and persecution in their home countries. Today, they are trying to lead a normal life. However, discrimination, lack of access and uncertainty make this a challenge. Millions of refugees are living in refugee camps. Often, they find themselves in a new country without legal status or work. If you are considering helping refugees as a volunteer, you already make us proud!

Volunteering for humanitarian initiatives is an excellent way of enriching your life and alleviating the suffering of those who need it most. You understand that refugees are not your regular migrants. They are people who have fled their homes unwillingly. Usually, their home country is in a conflict situation or affected by natural disaster.

They have also witnessed violence and hardship. The most important thing to remember is that any one of us could become a refugee. They do not choose to leave. They fled out of fear for their lives. It is our duty as humans to care for those who are in need which is why it is so important to help refugees through their tough times.

Things To Consider Before Volunteering

By volunteering with refugees, you can provide many essential services and alleviate some of the difficulty each refugee is going through. However, it is important to understand what you are committing to as a volunteer. Organizations that work with refugees already have a lot on their plates. So, they need independent volunteers who can help in productive ways. It is also essential to explore why you want to volunteer in the first place and prepare yourself mentally. Jumping into a volunteer opportunity because you want to help is great. But it’s important to know that you will be working with people who deserve dignity and respect. They are not simply a charity case—they have agency.

Travel where you are needed most

Considering Helping Refugees as a Volunteer?

Consider these questions before you do:

1. Do you have the necessary skills and experience?

In some cases, “all hands on deck” is a great motto. But in an environment where refugees are flooding a camp or are settling in a country, specific skills are necessary. First of all, you need to be able to communicate. Do you speak the local language or the language of the refugees you will be helping? If not, are translation services easily available or will it be too complicated for the host organization to provide proper communication? Secondly, what kind of services can you provide? Maybe you are health specialist, or can help with building, have language skills, are a great teacher, etc. Identify what the needs are and see where you best fit in.

2. Where can you help?

On the other hand, consider where your help is needed most. Is it at home or on the ground at a camp or on a border? Some countries are receiving many refugees daily, so they need volunteers to help them with the settlement process. Alternatively, refugee camps are usually in need of support, but sometimes, only in specific areas. At the same time, are you available to travel abroad to volunteer with refugees, or do you prefer to help from home? Here is a list of just some of the organizations which offer international volunteer projects. You can find many more compassionate organizations through Google, or our Focus on NGO articles.

3. How much support will you need?

This is an essential question. Are you self-sufficient enough to volunteer? Volunteering with refugees is not easy. You will witness a lot of hardship and need plenty of cultural sensitivity. Do you already have the skills to cope with this? Are you prepared to interact with a new culture without imposing judgment? Additionally, consider what the organization you want to volunteer can provide and what you need. For example, if you choose to work in a refugee camp, the conditions may be very basic.

4. Are you ready to commit?

Volunteering may not be paid, but it is a commitment. There are people who will count on you. So, are you ready to make a commitment for the necessary time investment that it will take? For example, if you are going to go to a refugee camp, your host organization will need to provide training and mentorship. It will take time to adjust and be part of the camp’s routine. Are you willing to go for sufficient time for this to happen?

After reviewing these questions, do you still feel like you are ready to volunteer with refugees? If so, read about the types of opportunities that exist in the next few days.

We Help You to Travel Where it is Needed Most

We believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. As a global humanitarian travel organization, we devote ourselves to serving those who serve the world. Our experienced staff can be reached at any given time. Please use our quick address locator to contact your nearest Raptim office should you have any questions. You can also follow our blog for more stories and travel information.

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