However you get your news, it’s easy to see that there are a lot of problems in the world. Headlines are full of people starving, people killing each other, people struggling just to survive.
It’s easy to feel helpless, to feel like there’s too much going on, and wonder how one person can possibly help.
But we believe that if every single person in the world decided to do something, those many small actions would quickly add up.
This is of course not an exhaustive list of current global issues, and we’re not suggesting that these extraordinarily complex problems are going to be solved overnight, but here are just a few ideas that strike us as a good place to start for anyone feeling overwhelmed and wanting to help however they can:
East Africa Food Crisis
East Africa is facing hunger on an unimaginable scale. 16 million people are on the brink of starvation, and in desperate need of food, water and medical treatment.
In South Sudan and Somalia, people are already dying. Drought is raging in Ethiopia, and Kenya has declared a national emergency.
Unicef has warned that 1.4 million children could starve to death this year.
Ways you can help
There are a lot of options for ways you can donate to East Africa appeals. Some of the main organisations, flagged by the UN, are:
- The Red Cross
- Save the Children
- The Disasters Emergency Committee
- ITV has done a great breakdown of exactly where and how the £55 million raised so far by DEC is being spent.
- The International Rescue Committee
If you’re short of cash but have been saving up your Nectar points for something special, you can donate your Nectar points directly to Oxfam here.
There plenty of options for where you money can go. £3 (600 points) buys emergency food; £2.50 (500 points) buys safe water; and £15 (3,000 points) buys a hygiene kit.
In the case of disasters like this, most organisations don’t send volunteers abroad as they already have people on the ground who have experience and knowledge of the area.
Lily Caprani, from Unicef UK, told the BBC that ‘while we appreciate all volunteers… the best thing the public can do to help is to donate so organisations like Unicef can continue their life-saving work’.
However, there are options for those skilled workers who want to help.
You need to be over 25, speak English, Spanish or French and have a university degree or higher technical diploma and two years’ relevant experience.
It’s tough to get selected, because the UN doesn’t send someone abroad just for the sake of it. But if you have skills and are picked, you’ll get all the same professional and security training that a full UN agency staff member receives.
You might have spotted that April 25 was the second anniversary of the earthquake in Nepal.
While this sounds like a long time, and you might think that the fallout issues might have been resolved by now, charities working in the country used the anniversary as an opportunity to point out that there’s still a long way to go before life is back to normal for survivors.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake, the first of two powerful earthquakes that shook the country just two weeks apart in 2015, killed 9,000 people.
What’s more, it destroyed more than 824,000 homes and left more than a million children out of school.
Now, according to the National Reconstruction Authority, just 5 per cent of the destroyed houses have been rebuilt. That means 800,000 families still haven’t got a home.
In Nepal, where summers are searing hot and winters are freezing, children and their parents are still living in the open and exposed to these extreme temperatures.
‘In times of crisis, international aid is essential to help alleviate suffering,’ Narayan Adhikari, leading Accountability Lab’s work in Nepal, told Al Jazeera.
‘But the international community can bring about more lasting change by directing their support towards citizens and local organisations committed to solving the root problems of corruption and lack of information.’
Ways you can help
- Accountability Lab – runs Citizen Helpdesks in the worst affected areas, deploying community volunteers to provide information to survivors and solve their problems in accessing relief. They’ve reached over 70,000 people in 800 villages so far.
- Plan International – as a child rights organisation, Plan began by providing immediate relief to children, families and remote communities. Their focus was, and is still on helping people rebuild their lives and on restoring a sense of normality to children’s lives.
Street Child – In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Street Child built 40 temporary schools and 24 WASH facilities for 3,200 children in the remote district of Okhaldhunga, in a collaboration with Unicef.
Now, while continuing to build semi-permanent school buildings, Street Child is also focusing on working with some of the most marginalised communities in Nepal, such as the Musahar communities and children of brick workers, to increase their preparedness and build resilience for the next time an earthquake of this magnitude hits.
Street Child has loads of volunteering opportunities in Nepal, working on projects, research, enterprise and teaching.
All Hands – with a fantastic reputation, All Hands has already impacted over 20,000 people through their response and recovery efforts. They’ve seen 1,769 volunteers from 72 countries donate almost 200,000 hours towards putting families back in homes and kids back in schools in Kathmandu, Sindhupalchowl and Nuwakot.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, check out Street Child’s Nepal Marathon, which offers not only a chance to stretch your legs in the shadow of the Himalayas, but also a chance to visit the projects and meet the children your fundraising will support.
More than 5,000 refugees and migrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean last year, a record number, according to UN agencies.
While it’s been hitting the headlines for a long time, the problem is still ongoing, and Easter weekend saw nearly 8,300 asylum seekers rescued from smugglers’ boats in the Mediterranean, according to NGOs and rescue workers.
Malta’s President, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, said: ‘I urgently appeal to all countries of Europe and the Mediterranean, and to all people of goodwill, to act in solidarity, supporting the humanitarian initiatives currently underway to save lives.’
Ways you can help
There are a lot of organisations carrying out the vital work to help people fleeing conflict and devastation in their home countries. You can donate money, clothes and hygiene products to many of these organisations so it’s worth looking around online to see which project you specifically want to support, but here’s a couple to get you started:
- Donate4Refugees – Every penny donated to Donate4Refugees goes to helping refugees in Europe, with partnerships with UK grassroots volunteer groups on-the-ground across Greece, Serbia, Italy, France and the UK. They have a great breakdown on their website of exactly how the money is spent, including asylum services, free shops for refugees and safe outdoor spaces.
The scale of the crisis is reflected in the number of different fundraising campaigns run by some of the biggest international aid organisations, so have a look at:
Care4Calais – this charity was doing excellent work sorting and distributing donations in the so-called ‘Jungle’ refugee and migrant camp in Calais, before it was closed down by authorities.
Now they are appealing for volunteers to help in the Dunkirk camp, in Paris, to visit those in detention centres and helping refugees and migrants living on the streets.
If you can’t get to France, they are also looking for people in the UK to manage their back office operation and support with logistics, communications, and many other things.
Check out their volunteer page to see how you can help.
RefugeeYouth – working in the UK, this small organisation aims to combat the alienation that young refugees in the UK can experience. They run creative workshops, socials and sports activities so there’s loads of ways people with many different skill sets and interests can help support their work.
The staff and volunteers are all young people, aged 16 to 30, working to integrate young refugees into British society, to learn new skills, build confidence and become leaders in their communities.
Have a look on their website and get in touch with them to find out how you can get involved.
Imogen Calderwood, Blog Writer
At We Make Change our mission is to give you the power to change the world. Find out more here.
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