In her poem “Home”, British-Somali poet Warsan Shire writes, “You have to understand, no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” For those of us who have not personally known the struggle of being a refugee, it can be hard to imagine the countless challenges that refugees face every day, even after they have reached their new country. We may become lost in the midst of heartbreaking stories about the journey itself, forgetting that the obstacles continue during the process of settling in to a new, often drastically different culture. Starting over in a new country is never easy, and the transition is doubly difficult for refugees, who have just fled their home countries for their safety.
This summer, Random Acts staff members had the opportunity to focus on helping refugee families settle into their new countries. Each staff member was given a budget of $300 to spend on an act of kindness for a local refugee family or organization. This gave each person the chance to make a difference in their own community as part of a larger team effort to give some love to refugees around the world.
Many people kept in contact through an email chain during the planning stages for their acts, updating each other on their research into local organizations. The messages back and forth then continued into the execution stage, which not only helped everyone to stay up to date and learn from each other, but also built up excitement about the project. With so many stories being shared, it was impossible not to be inspired!
It quickly became clear that we could not possibly keep all of these awesome stories to ourselves. That is why we are going to dedicate a week to sharing our refugee acts, so that you can feel as inspired and motivated as we did.
Here is a sneak peek to get you started…
Regional Representative Christiana used her budget to put together “welcome home” baskets for refugees in the Caritas of Austin’s Refugee Resettlement Program. These baskets included home essentials for move-in day, such as bedding, bathroom necessities, and kitchenware.
Similarly, Social Media Officer Natasha reached out to CARAD, an Australian organization that provides assistance for asylum seekers, refugees, and detainees. Natasha used her budget to purchase items marked as being in high demand on the organization’s wish list, including food items and toiletries.
Both of these awesome acts show that smaller scale purchases, like a shower curtain or canned food, can go a long way in making life easier for refugees.
We can’t wait to share more stories with you- we know that you’re going to love them!