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Monday, December 21, 2015

Choosing a Charity: Syrian Refugee Crisis

An aerial view of the Za'atri Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of State

The Syrian conflict, now entering its fifth year, represents the largest displacement crisis in the world, with millions of people forced out of their homes. Many charities have responded, however, the crisis is complex, with several different populations requiring various forms of assistance. Syrian refugees fall broadly into three categories requiring aid: people within Syria or in the nearby countries, refugees in Europe, and refugees who have begun the resettlement process. When choosing an organization to support, it is important to understand which population they assist, as well as the form of aid provided. You can find a list of tips for donating in times of crisis on our website, but we have also here compiled a guide to the 4-star organizations responding to the Syrian crisis.

If you are looking to help people remaining in Syria or who have fled to neighboring countries, the following 4-star organizations have ongoing programs to help those populations: the American Refugee Committee, GlobalGiving, International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee, Medical Teams International, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development, Save the Children, and United States Fund for UNICEF. Many of these organizations focus on providing people with shelter, medical care, and basic needs, including access to hygiene and clean water.

To assist the refugees in Europe with the provision of basic needs, look to GlobalGiving, International Medical Corps, Medical Teams International, Samaritan’s Purse, Save the Children, and United States Fund for UNICEF. Many of these programs help not just Syrian refugees, but those coming from North Africa and other Middle Eastern countries as well. They focus on providing medical care and basic needs, including ensuring refugees are properly outfitted for the winter months. Several of these organizations also undertake advocacy work with local governments, whether helping to support local institutions or asking for governments to do more to help the refugees arriving at their borders.

Some refugees have already been resettled by the United Nations, and these people face their own unique challenges adapting to their new homes. GlobalGiving highlights a few organizations working with these refugees to adjust to life in a new place, providing them with the tools and resources necessary to make the transition. The International Rescue Committee undertakes similar work, helping refugees navigate the registration and resettlement process, including understanding their rights, and helping them establish lives in their new countries. They have assisted in settling some Syrian refugees here in the United States, and allow donors to contribute to one of the local offices helping refugees. No matter which organization you choose to support, we encourage you to visit their website and understand their programs and efforts, as well as following up on your donation has helped.

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