Thousands of refugees need help on a daily basis. Here are some initiatives and associations with which you can act or express your solidarity.
In 2015, the cities of Calais, Bodrum in Turkey, the islands of Lampedusa in Italy, Kos in Greece, and the Hungarian or Serbian borders, saw hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Eritreans and Somalis seeking refuge. Stories, journeys, tragedies, marked us, revolted or saddened as when Europe woke up this summer when it discovered the photo of the lifeless body of little Aylan on a Turkish beach.
Many of us then have the desire to act and help. We offer a non-exhaustive selection of initiatives to help refugees, accessible to all those living around the Golden Drop. But anywhere in France, you will find different associations to turn to. The newspaper Libération has put online a very complete map of the structures in France, with skill and type of aid offered.
Of course, there are several key humanitarian organizations that operate internationally or nationally. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which assists refugees in their efforts in host countries, is making a special effort to reduce situations of forced displacement in countries of departure. The Red Cross and people’s aid are devoting part of their resources to helping migrants, among other missions. Finally, France Terre d’Asile has a network of settlements in 36 cities to help asylum seekers, from accommodation to legal aid. The association also has an office at the Goutte d’Or, at 4 rue Doudeauville (reception platform and accommodation).
Acting close to home
On a day-to-day basis, if you’re looking to take action by turning to local initiatives, there is no shortage of opportunities to get involved. In the neighbourhood, several associations are working to improve the reception of migrants, whether they have been settled in France for a long time, wherever they have just arrived in the region.
Several actions are carried out to meet different needs: language training (Laghouat Home, Golden Drop Home, Language Island, Red Castle Solidarity), social mediation and administrative support (Laghouat Home, AGO, Ayyem Zamen), medical follow-up (URACA-Basiliade), food aid (The Open Table).
The list of actions and associations cited is not exhaustive.
Other collectives are more specifically dedicated to migrants who have recently arrived in the country. The La Chapelle Migrant Support Committee collects material donations (food, hygiene, clothing, etc.) and may potentially need volunteers to provide French courses, administrative and legal aid, medical services or entertainment.
The BAAM (the Office of Reception and Support of Migrants) is a new initiative led by a solidarity support group of migrants settled and then evacuated from the disused high school Jean Quarré on the 19th in Paris. The association seeks to provide a better reception for refugees by offering french workshops, legal aid, cultural outings and redirecting migrants to health care systems.
Help via the Internet
Several initiatives have been built on the Internet, reaching a wider audience and facilitating the call to action. Since January, the Singa association has developed an online platform to connect citizens wishing to house asylum seekers and refugees in search of a place to sleep, through the “Like at home / CALM” project.
Helpmigrants is an international social network that allows refugees and Europeans to get in touch as simply as possible. Through this site, you can donate clothes, medicines, food or various services. “The solutions lie in all of us, citizens of Europe,” they write.