As we come to the end of 2015, our world grapples with the sorrow of war, violence, and displacement and the uncertainties of political, environmental, and economic change. The needs that surround us are immense. Yet we are more informed, interconnected, and able to contribute to solutions than ever before.
We must come together to deliver meaningful responses to our current refugee crisis, the largest since World War II. According to a November report by World Vision, 12 million Syrians have fled their homes because of conflict. Half of these people are children. It’s daunting to navigate the political complexities of relocation and resettlement, and it’s hard to know how to help in the effort to provide for basic needs as winter nears.
The threat of welcoming refugees has been excessively overdramatized. As immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh points out, “Of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks on targets outside of the United States, and none was successfully carried out. That is one terrorism-planning conviction for every 286,543 refugees that have been admitted. To put that in perspective, about 1 in every 22,541 Americans committed murder in 2014.”
It is easy to react to tragedies like the attacks in Paris with heightened concern for our own security. Yes, the challenges are complex and we do not have all the answers. However, in the world of knowledge and interdependence that we live in today we have the expertise and reach to make progress on lasting solutions. Most importantly, we can’t ignore the plight of refugees, and we can’t ignore our shared humanity.
Like us, refugees need clean water, food, and shelter. Like us, they need safe environments for their children to play and attend school. And like us, they need the opportunity to earn a living and provide for their families.
I believe that by directing our resources and our actions for positive impact, we can make a difference. As you open your hearts and charitable giving as the year-end nears, I encourage you to contribute to the issues that are most meaningful and personal to you. I also encourage and to take a stand for the humanity of all through supporting those in crisis and dire need.
Donate to providers of emergency relief
At a minimum we must support emergency efforts to alleviate suffering. These organizations work tirelessly to provide food, shelter, and emergency shelter to uphold basic human dignity.
Tides has partnered with several organizations, individuals and collectives to administer grants to effective relief organizations around the world. Currently, we are working hand in hand with Google to match $5.5 million in donations to humanitarian relief for refugees and migrants. Here are several other organizations worth supporting.
- Mercy Corps is an international development organization that helps people around the world survive and thrive after conflict, crisis, and natural disaster. They provide direct aid to Syrian refugees in the form of food and supplies, and by increasing access to clean water and sanitation, shelters, and safe spaces and activities for children. Donate now.
- Hand in Hand for Syria is working to provide aid on the ground in Syria, including food, clothing, water, sanitation and crucial medical assistance. They work in collaboration with partners such as UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to plan aid distribution throughout the country. Donate now.
- International Rescue Committee serves refugees and communities victimized by oppression and violent conflict worldwide. They provide emergency relief, protection of human rights, post-conflict development, resettlement assistance, and advocacy. Donate now.
Donate for long-term education & economic empowerment
Organizations working in the field can understand needs and are best equipped to work with local communities to develop lasting solutions. The following organizations invest in longer term initiatives to address the root causes of suffering and instability.
- The Peace Appeal Foundation works to achieve agreed, fair, and just outcomes, ending violent political conflict. Founded in 2000 with a mandate from five Nobel Peace Laureates including Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, the Peace Appeal Foundation helps local stakeholders create and sustain broad-scale peace and dialogue processes and structures to prevent and transform violent conflict, and build the foundations for just and durable peace. They have a program in Syria called “Building Peace from the Bottom Up.” Donate now.
- Nuru International’s mission is to end extreme poverty in remote rural areas. They identify and train local leaders to design and implement solutions that address four basic needs. Founded by former US Marine and Stanford MBA Jake Harriman, Nuru aims to provide a path to prosperity and security that will prevent humanitarian crises. Donate now.
- Heifer International works to end hunger and poverty around the world by providing livestock and training to struggling communities. Their gift catalog and farm animal donation options provide concrete ways to support livelihoods around the world. Donate now.
- Samasource takes outsourced digital work and gives it to people living in poverty in underdeveloped regions around the world, including Haiti, Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya. Their approach provides people with formal job training and work experience, creating opportunities for those living in poverty to earn a living wage and to establish a dignified life for themselves and their dependents. Learn more.
This holiday season, let’s focus our good intentions and resources into action that helps those most in need. Let’s reach out meaningfully to our neighbors – at home and around the globe – and remember that our world is deeply interconnected.
We must all take a stand for:
Hope over fear
Peace over conflict
Help over exclusion
Generosity over ambivalence
With deep appreciation to each of you in the Tides community for your work to create a more just, sustainable world of opportunity and shared prosperity.