The reports coming out of Aleppo, Syria, are truly heartbreaking. Aleppo is one of the “oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world,” and it is literally falling to pieces. The people who remain in the city are trapped with nowhere to run.
The citizens of Aleppo are unable to get food and medical supplies. Even hospitals have been targeted in the fighting. The situation is dire for the people of Aleppo, but there are millions of others affected by this crisis that can use your help.
Conflict in Syria is not limited to the city of Aleppo; the civil war looms over most of the country, and literally millions of Syrians who have fled the fighting are now refugees. There are tangible ways that you can help: you can take action, contact your elected officials, help refugees in your community, and support the heroes that are on the ground in and around Aleppo.
Protests, rallies, and vigils are happening all across the world. People are organizing events supporting the victims of the Syrian civil war—by showing up, you’re showing support for the victims of this violence.
If there isn’t an event near you, organize one. Think about the following:
1) What’s the goal of your event?
2) Who’s the person your event is addressing? Who can help you achieve your goal?
3) What is your message? Can all participants articulate the goals of the event?
4) What tactics are you going to use to get your message to the person you are addressing? Do participants understand their roles?
One group that always has suggestions about ways to help, including letter writing and vigils, is Amnesty International.
Help Refugees in your Community
Of the 9 million displaced Syrians in the world, about 10,000 have been relocated to the United States. These families need your help. Check out the Office of Refugee Resettlement‘s recommendations for refugee resources and contacts.
Refugees may need clothes and bedding, and immigrants may need help find food that is familiar to their families. They may need toys, educational opportunities, and work. See what you can do to help welcome your new neighbors into your community.
Contact Your Elected Representatives
It may be worth noting your stance on sending weapons and warriors to fight on your behalf. It’s not an easy thing to send someone into battle — think about how you feel about sending your neighbors into armed conflict and let your representative know this as well.
Find your representatives here.
Here’s a quick script for getting your conversation started on the phone:
Hi, my name is __________, I am from ________, zip code _ _ _ _ _. I’d like to leave a message for Representative/Senator _________ regarding the conflict in Syria…
Pick two or three things that you think would be the best way for your country to help the people of Aleppo, and share those with the person taking the message. It’s completely reasonable to call simply to ask your representatives to urgently develop a strategy to help the people of Syria.
Get Out Your Credit Card and Make a Donation
Let’s face it: It’s a lot easier to get your money to the people that need the help than to get you there to do the helping yourself. Dozens of aid organizations are actively working to help those affected by this war. Here are just a handful of the groups that desperately need your help:
Also known as the White Helmets, “these former tailors, bakers, teachers and other ordinary Syrians banded together in 2013 to save the lives others were working so hard to take. They have now saved more than 73,530 lives.”
Doctors Without Borders provides medical assistance to people affected by war all across the world. More than 20 workers and patients at a Doctors Without Borders facility in Aleppo were killed in an airstrike in November 2016.
3) International Committee of the Red Cross
“In spite of the dangers, the International Committee of the Red Cross has been providing food and life-saving support to Syrians since the beginning. Thanks to our joint efforts with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, we can help people in areas that no other humanitarian organization can reach.”
4) The International Rescue Committee
“Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC delivers lifesaving care to people fleeing conflict and natural disaster. Year after year, the IRC is one of the highest-ranking nonprofits for accountability, transparency, and efficient use of contributions.”
UNICEF has helped mobilize the largest relief operation in history — providing safe water, nutrition, polio vaccinations, temporary schools and more. But these children’s needs are outgrowing our resources.”
It’s easy to feel helpless in such dark times. Please do what you can to help.