Miles4Migrants is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. We use donated frequent flyer miles and money to book flights that bring refugees to their new homes and reunite families separated by conflict and persecution. Since 2016, we have flown over 1,000 individuals to safety with a 100% volunteer staff.
On World Refugee Day, we’re reminded that the refugee crisis has grown in recent years; there are over 70 million people displaced worldwide today — the highest number in history. That translates into 1 person forcibly displaced from his/her home every 2 seconds.
Many of you tell us that recent border separations and international conflicts left you feeling disoriented and wishing to help — but unsure of what to do. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a quick list of ways you can make a direct impact on the global refugee crisis today.
Level 1 — Easy. 2 minutes or less. You got this.
- Read up a little bit. Who exactly is a refugee? What is asylum? How do other countries treat refugees? These are all great questions. The UNHCR has great resources that introduce who refugees are, and discusses the differences between refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers. Many from each group share the same challenges, but the differences start with how host countries look at them.
- Designate a refugee-interest charity on Amazon Smile: Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Designate Miles4Migrants as your preferred charity here.
- Raise Awareness: if you’re passionate about refugee resettlement and rights, let your network know! Re-share content about the refugee crisis, how others can help (like this article) and what you’ve personally done to impact refugees. If you use social media, use hashtags like #StandWithRefugees and #RefugeesWelcome.
- Donate miles and/or cash: Donate miles to reunite a family at Miles4Migrants. If you don’t have miles to donate, you can also donate cash to help refugees and asylum seekers reunite with family. At Miles4Migrants cash donations are commonly used to cover taxes and fees for award travel. Or you can give cash to another non-profit like HIAS, Catholic Charities USA and Immigrant Families Together, a few examples of nonprofits with strong service programs to help refugees and asylum seekers.
Level 2 — A little more effort. But the impact you’ll have is way greater.
- Call Your Representatives: Urge your country to stand with refugees by contacting your elected representatives. Tell them that regardless of your political affiliation, you believe that asylum seekers have a place in your country, and families should never be separated.
- Buy refugee-made goods: Seek out businesses and vendors that donate to refugee causes or sell goods made by refugees. Businesses like Beautiful Day, Vickery Treading Co, and Made51 sell granola, clothing, accessories and decor that help stimulate local economic growth and provide training and income to refugee communities.
- Host a giving campaign: Host a donation drive, encouraging friends and family to give to refugee causes and raising awareness (two birds, one stone!). It takes just a few minutes to set up a Facebook donation campaign or a GoFundMe. Bonus: Turn the giving campaign into an in-person event, like a 5k run or an office party. We provided some useful tips around throwing your own miles drive here. Nonprofit organizations often welcome campaign partnerships with corporations as well. If you’re a company interested in sponsoring an employee giving campaign, we’d love to partner with you!
- Donate goods: Donate items to a refugee donation center. A variety of items are required to start a new life — centers are often in need of clothing, toiletries, kitchen items (utensils, dishes, etc), and school supplies (pencils, notebooks, etc). Run a Google search for the closest center to you, or check out the local branches of Caritas International, International Rescue Committee, or Refugees.org.
Finally, Needslist is another great option to find non-profits in need of resources in real-time — run a search for “refugee” on their website to find somewhere to donate.
Level 3 — Your commitment is pretty incredible. Heck yeah. Keep changing lives!
- Volunteer at a refugee non-profit or agency: There are a number of amazing organizations that are dedicated to aiding refugees, and volunteers are always welcome across many different skills — from IT to marketing to customer service. Contact a nonprofit and ask where your specific skills might be needed. Drop us a line at Miles4Migrants — we’d love your help!
- Open your home to refugees: Refugees are often displaced from their homes, and require housing in their new home country while they get back on their feet. Open Homes, an Airbnb project, allows volunteer hosts to open their homes to refugees and displaced people without charge. Fostering a refugee child through our partner LIRS is another way to help. Finally, if you have a spare room, religious groups in your area often connect refugees with available bedrooms.
- Invest in a refugee’s future: Various resettlement agencies and organizations offer employer partnerships to help your company find talent from the refugee community. The International Rescue Committee, one of our partners, has a great resource describing why refugees make great employees.
This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but our hope is that something in here may spark your curiosity, or even better, your action. And most importantly, while #WorldRefugeeDay is an important time to reflect on the global refugee crisis, supporting refugees and immigrants is a year-round need, so make today as the start to something.
Thanks for reading. If you have other ideas to share, drop us a line or leave a comment on the post.
~The Miles4Migrants Team