As World Refugee Day comes to a close tonight, I hope you took a moment today to do something in recogniztion of the millions of displaced people around the world. While we can’t all be Angelina Jolie and travel to Turkey, where over 10,000 Syrian refugees have fled, we can do something. And thanks to online tools and connective technology, it is easier than ever to do make a different. Here are 10 ways you can take action on World Refugee Day.
1. Attend a World Refugee Day event. This week, Local, national, and international groups are coordinating events all around the world to connect communities with their new refugee members. By using MeetUp Everywhere, all the local chapters can add their events to the site, and the global movement is represented in the map visual. Attend an event or add one of your own.
2. Take Action Locally and Get Points. Welcoming America is a grassroots movement of individuals who help refugees adjust to their new life in the U.S. They just launched a new tool called “Friends of Welcoming,” By taking the actions they list and helping refugees and organizing in your own community, you can get points, badges and prize money.
3. Compete Online. The Enough Project’s Darfur Dream Team launched their Summer Challenge today. They will be providing actions – from watching videos to volunteering – all summer long and rewarding those who participate with prizes, like Don Cheadle and John Prendergast’s book Enough Moment.
4. Look at Infographics. I love when causes can get creative with data visualization. Check out what UNHCR did with their most recent refugee report and Google Fusion Tables, another free tool from Google.
5. Text to Donate: There are three great ways you can help three great causes, and they are all doing it differently. Mapendo International goes into conflict areas and refugee camps to help those that have fallen through the cracks. They collect $5 donations by text messages of RESCUE to 90999, and 100 text messages can rescue a person.
6. Give Time. Refugees International has a similar mission to Mapendo’s, but they are asking you to donate your time instead. Visit their page on Causes and each advertisement you look at will generate 10 cents for their efforts.
7. Watch a Film. Snagfilms offers documentaries for free online. Check out the award winner film The Last Survivor, which follows refugees from Darfur, Congo, Rwanda, and the Holocaust as they rebuild their lives.
8. Remember the Past. Many times since the Holocaust we have heard the word “Never Again,” and yet we see have seen genocides multiple times since. Triangles of Truth sells paper triangles for $1, and with each triangle you honor a Holocaust victim by giving charity in his or her name to end genocide today and to help survivors of current genocides. The triangles raise awareness and also encourage us to act in memory of Holocaust victims to give meaning to the ideal of “Never Again.”
9. Become a Volunteer. For those of you looking to commit more time to this cause, check out the International Rescue Committee’s volunteer program. I participated in it for two years and it is one of the best things I’ve ever done.
10. Tweet. At the very bare minimum, the least you can do is tweet this post with the hashtag #WorldRefugeeDay to help keep this day in today’s trending topics.
Christie Marchese runs marketing and social action strategy for Righteous Pictures, a film and new media production company that uses storytelling to foster social change. Connect with her on Twitter @ChristieM