WELCOME TO THE REFUGEE SUPPORT EXPRESS
KEEPING INFORMED – THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING WITH AN ETHICAL CHARITY
This week, a video focusing on problems raised by volunteer tourism – also known as voluntourism – received viral attention.
In this video, Dr Samantha Nutt of War Child discusses how voluntourism can have a negative effect on developing companies and communities by undermining local initiatives, reinforcing negative stereotypes and encouraging psychological dependency in young children.
This video resonated with us. As a volunteer organisation, we need people to come and help but we need them to put first the needs of the people we serve. Treating people with dignity, respecting their independence and doing them no harm need to be at the core of our work.
Short term volunteering can be hard work, emotionally trying and extremely rewarding. Some charities and volunteers are doing great work on the frontlines. As this video shows, some are getting it wrong. We encourage you to research thoroughly before embarking on any volunteering journey to ensure that your efforts will be beneficial, not counterproductive for communities you want to help.
If you’re looking to volunteer at a refugee camp with a transparent and ethical charity, we encourage you to find out more about our policies, and contact us today to see what you can do to stand with refugees.
STANDING WITH REFUGEES PODCAST
For this week’s podcast, Paul spoke to Claudia Bonamini, policy and advocacy officer of the Jesuit Refugee Service.
This March marked the second anniversary of the ‘EU Turkey deal’, and in this podcast, Paul and Claudia reflect passionately on the policy and its dubious failure thus far.
To briefly outline the EU Turkey Deal (or the ‘EU Turkey statement’, as Paul and Claudia prefer to call it), it was conceived on 20 March 2016 in reaction to the heavy influx of refugees fleeing from neighbouring countries (predominantly Syria) to Greece and Italy (EU countries) as the EU’s internal borders were closing to them.
The ‘deal’ stipulated that, to quote Claudia, Turkey [would commit] to readmit all irregular migrants reaching the Greek islands from Turkish shores. In turn, the European states [would commit] to resettle one Syrian refugee from Turkey for each Syrian person returned from Greece. However, in practice, the ‘deal’ has not followed or delivered on its own promises.
The EU Turkey deal is a hideous example of the idiom ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’; as adult and child refugees fleeing to and remaining stuck in Turkey face persecution of a different form – discrimination, poverty and child labour. We heard firsthand from Yazan last year about the horrific and inhumane the conditions that many refugees face in Turkey.
In this podcast, Paul and Claudia discuss the numerous legal, practical and ethical viewpoints that underpin this legally questionable failure on the EU’s part.
But there’s a grain of hope, as Paul says. If people engage in campaigning for policy movement, we can advocate on behalf of refugees, and persuade change to finally happen. But this will only come about through collective effort.
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STAND BY US
The day has nearly arrived! Next week, twenty members of Refugee Support Europe will be taking flight as they prepare to undertake the fundraising challenge of a lifetime.
Trekking for miles from Idomeni to Skopje in FYR Macedoni, our volunteers will be tracing the route that many refugees took as the fled from persecution in search of sanctuary, before the borders were closed in 2015. Each volunteer has an ambitious fundraising target, but every penny will go towards helping aid refugees with dignity; many who have fled persecution and faced the physical barriers that will be replicated on the team’s journey.
Help us cheer our volunteers on their mammoth journey from the sidelines by donating towards this fundraiser. They are stomping to raise vital funds and awareness for refugees, so please do show your solidarity by donating generously.
Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next time.
Please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering, making a donation, or just want to get in touch.