Monday 16 September 2019

should I volunteer to help refugees?

This is completely up to your personal assessment of your time and to the situation.

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.



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