Solidarity with Refugees: 10 Things You Can Do to Help in Ireland

Participant holds a banner during the Day of Action on the ‪Refugee Crisis organised by Uplift, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland and Irish Refugee Council in Dublin, 5th September 2015

 Last update: 02/03/2017

The ongoing human tragedy across the Mediterranean and Europe has shocked us all. While we are still waiting for our government to take a firm action and commit to help refugees, charities, NGOs and people across Ireland, have been organising to put the pressure on our political leaders to finally act, as well as find more practical ways to help ease the crisis. To give you an idea what you can do we compiled all calls to action and practical ways you can help in one place. We are updating this page on an ongoing basis so stay tuned and email aga@enarireland.ie if you wish to add or update any information.

1. Attend the refugee solidarity events or organise your own.

  • All MarchMonth of Anti-Racism – check our Event Calendar to see anti-racism or intercultural events happening near you.
  • Fri, 3rd March, Castlebar, Co Mayo – Join  Dance for Syria  fundraiser to raise money for Syria! There’ll be a raffle on the night for individual exclusive pieces of art, donated by local artists & craft-workers.
  • Mon, 6th March, 6pm, Dublin – Join Amnesty International at the Europe: Let’s Bring Them Here Rally, part of a series of regional actions to remind European leaders of their promises to refugees.
  • Fri, 10th March, 6pm, Dublin – To celebrate International Women’s Week the Women and Gender Studies students at TCD invite you to Connecting Bridges of Hope  lecture by End Direct Provision activist Ellie Kisyombe.
  • Mon, 13th March, 7:30pm, Cork - Syrian Irish Culture Night for Safe Passage - Safe Passage volunteers are hosting a Syrian Irish Culture Night  in Nasc Ireland. Join them to share traditional music, culture and food! 
  • Sun, 19th March, WaterfordAn invitation is going out from the Joy Bells of Waterford to all churches with bells in Ireland, to young and old, wherever people gather publicly, to ring out the bells on March 19th. Please pass on this message to a church near you!
  • Fri, 28th April, 7:30pm, Limerick -  Every Child is Your Child are hosting a dinner evening for a fund to aid parents living in direct provision. 

For more events focused on migration, anti-racism and intercultural issues click here.

 Do you have an event coming up or know about one? Let us know!

Start an event to show solidarity

Join with tens of thousands of people all around Europe by organizing or joining an event in your own town or city. You can find a quick guide on how to organize solidarity here.

2. Stand up for the rights of refugees & asylum seekers

Irish Refugee Council prepared three great toolkits on the rights of asylum seekers and refugees for the recent General Election. Although the Election is long over, these toolkits set out some key issues for those who support asylum seekers and refugees to raise with TDs. They contain questions for politicians intended to open up the discussion, basic facts and the commitments needed if Ireland is serious about providing a safe haven for refugees: 

3. Contact your political representatives & sign petitions

  • Ask Minister Fitzgerald to Introduce Safe Passage to provide humanitarian admission for families fleeing conflict. Sign the Nasc petition here.
  • Sign the petition calling on the Minister for Justice  and the government to live up to Ireland’s commitment to take 4,000 refugees and speed up the allocation of places to those fleeing war and persecution. 
  • Ask Minister Fitzgerald to welcome unaccompanied refugee children, stranded in Greece and separated from their families.

4. Get involved with your local refugee solidarity group

There are many solidarity groups now set up across the country where people have come together to offer practical help and collect necessary humanitarian supplies.

  • Ireland Says Welcome is an information sharing platform consolidating news and events on refugee solidarity initiatives working across Ireland and Europe. Get in touch with them to see how you can help.
  • Find, like and support your local solidarity group for supporters and volunteers on Facebook  HERE.
  • Members of the Greek Solidarity Committee have been travelling to the overwhelmed Greek islands such as Kos and Lesbos to offer assistance. If you wish to offer your support you can contact the group’s Facebook page.

5. Volunteer

  • Kesha Niya Kitchen in Dunkirk refugee camp may be looking for kitchen volunteersTo get involved and to find out if they are looking for volunteers, please contact volunteer@keshaniya.org.
  • Check in the section nr 4 above for your local solidarity groups and contact them directly to check if they need help.
  • Irish group Disaster Tech Lab are sending a team to the islands between Greece and Turkey to build public internet facilities which will serve as public information points as well as allowing the refugees to establish contact relatives and friends. In addition to this they will provide secure WiFi networks for other humanitarian aid workers to use. They are looking for volunteers with specific technical & IT skills (WiFi networking, Vsat, VoIP). Apply HERE.
  • Teach English and welcome new migrants through conversational English classes with Fáilte Isteach.
  • If you have language and teaching skills you can get in touch with you local community or resource centre to see if they need English language teachers. You can also check if ENAR Ireland’s Member organisations based in your area need support.
  • Volunteer for ‘Refugee Phrasebook’ to help new arrivals overcome language barriers and deal with a variety of issues such as seeking asylum, medical attention etc. 
  • Help new migrants feel at home by hosting a Welcome Dinner. A Welcome Dinner is simple idea bringing together natives and new migrants to share a meal. It’s all about food, language and social interaction. Many families all over Ireland have signed up to host a dinner in their home. Sign up here through ChangeX and find out more here. Additionally, if you know someone who may benefit from attending one of Welcome Dinners put them in touch with Change X via Email: info@changex.org  or by phone: 086 468 5361.
  • Become a member or supporter of the Irish Refugee Council and join their supporters mailing list. If you would like to support the free services we offer for refugees and asylum seekers already in Ireland you can donate here. To find out more about the work they do in Ireland work click hereIf you are able to offer other forms of practical support, please contact the Irish Refugee Council info@irishrefugeecouncil.ie with ideas, offers, suggestions.
  • Want to share the experience of exploring history, literature and Irish culture together with asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and local people? Every Friday during Spring and Autumn, the JRS Integration Support Group (ISG) meets to enjoy some of the great amenities that Dublin has to offer. Contact them here to find out more or to join in for their next trip.

  • Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) welcomes applications from volunteers with special skill sets or qualifications to assist with the design and delivery of new services. Whether you are a teacher or a gardener, a musician or an engineer, an artist or architect; please contact them to find out how you can help.
“Refugees Welcome” aerial photo at the Sandymount Beach, 13 September 2015

“Refugees Welcome” aerial photo created during the event at the Sandymount Beach, 13 September 2015

6. Donate to groups and charities working with refugees in Ireland and in Syria

Non-monetary donations

  • Books in Arabic language, early English learning books, toys, sewing machines, laptops, abayas, head scarfs, new underwear for all ages, new socks, shoes for all ages – for Syrian refugees in Mosney centre. Contact here.
  • The Irish Benders & Burners collective is currently building stove burners for refugees in France and collecting materials to bring there for tents etc.
  • Children suppliesSlings for Solidarity Ireland are facilitating sending slings, carriers and care packages to as many places as there are families in need. You can find your local collection point HERE.
  • IT equipment – contact Disaster Tech Lab at contact@disastertechlab.org to see what they need.
  • Medical equipmentHuman Appeal Ireland is collecting medical supplies, beds and equipment for hospitals and medical centres in Syria.
  • Instruments – Music Against Borders are taking donations of old or unwanted instruments for the migrants at Calais.
  • Books – the Jungle Library have set up a makeshift library at the Calais camp.
  • Buy specific goods from an internet wish list. There are numerous wish lists that have been set up online to help ease the supplies issues surrounding the crisis. An Amazon list directed at Calais and Greece can be accessed HERE and the one set up by Slings for Solidarity Ireland HERE

Monetary donations

  • Human Appeal collects money to support those fleeing the fighting in Aleppo. You can donate here. They have also been working on the ground with Syrian refugees in Macedonia and Greece. You can support their work here.
  • Refugee Rescue is a team of skilled search and rescue volunteers operating from Lesvos in Greece. To date this small crew have saved over 2,500 lives. If you would like to support this Irish led initiative please visit their website for ways that you can assist their live saving work.
  • Clare PPN  collects money or items to help the Syrian refugee families settle in in County Clare. You can donate here.
  • People to People, Ireland to Greece: Humanitarian Donation Drive by Irish Refugee Council (IRC)  can be supported here.
  • Kesha Nyia Kitchen  run by volunteers and refugees in refugee Camp de la Liniere Grande Synthe, France collects money for food supplies for the camp. See here how you can support them.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), are operating ships in the Mediterranean at present,they are also on the ground in the areas people are arriving at, as they reach Europe. Donate here.
  • Irish Red Cross provides support for asylum seekers. Their page is here.
  • Concern – you can donate to the Syria Emergency Appeal here.
  • Trócaire – donate for their Refuge Crisis Appeal here.
  • The UNHCR can be donated to directly here.

7. Pledge a bed, befriend and socialise with refugees and asylum seekers

Accommodation sharing

  • Refugee BnB looks for people willing to host a refugee family for a year starting from January 2016.

Food sharing, befriending, socialising

  • Welcome Café: A regular meet up the last Tuesday of the month to create a space of welcome to celebrate diversity and encourage intercultural exchange.
  • Welcome Dinners: Welcome Dinners, an initiative of ChangeX, provides a very easy and enjoyable way to make a change in society today, to work towards a more inclusive, more understanding community. The concept is simple: invite a newly-arrived immigrant to your home for dinner, sit down, chat, get to know about each other’s cultures, share some food, have a drink, and that’s about it! ChangeX can put you in touch with migrants who would like to be a guest at an Irish dinner table. 
  • Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Diners: Join RAMSI for their very popular, monthly ‘Solidarity Dinners.’ A wonderful opportunity to eat good food, meet like-minded people and raise much needed funds for refugees and migrants in Ireland and abroad. Check their Facebook page for the next dinner.
  • The Integration Support Group: The ISG, run by Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland, is designed to help migrants learn about Irish culture, engage with the local community and public services whilst supplementing formal language provision with informal social opportunities to practice English. The ISG promotes integration by facilitating cultural exchange between asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and the local Irish community who all share the experience of exploring history, literature and culture together. If you would like to get involved get in touch with JRS here.

8. Support the Campaign to End Direct Provision (#EndDP) and support refugees already in Ireland

This refugee crisis isn’t the first time Ireland has failed those fleeing military conflicts, torture and oppression. Thousands of people continue to live in the inhumane and widely criticised Direct Provision system in Ireland, which has been called the Magdalene Laundries of our generation.

  • Support the education of asylum seekers & refugees in Ireland by providing  them with financial support to access education and training.  Email EducationGrants@irishrefugeecouncil.ie if you want to make a donation.

9. Challenge uninformed views, debunk myths and stay informed

  • Challenge those stating that Ireland has its own problems and we can’t afford to help. DevelopmentEducation.ie advises to approach this sentiment with the facts. “Ireland is a wealthy country. We do not have to pick between ‘helping our own’ and ‘helping them’. We could instead choose between the extreme wealth of some people in Ireland and helping all those who need it. There is enough money in the Irish economy to ensure the basic needs of Irish people and refugees. The problem is that the wealth is not shared equality, instead it is concentrated within the hands of a few. This is our problem, not ‘others’ crossing into our borders.”
  • If anyone tries to justify their anti-refugee position by recalling Ireland’s housing crisis you can also point them to the below the Irish Housing Network Facebook status, a front-line organisation for Irish housing crisis. It will help you to stress that their views are not in line with the official campaign.
  • Stay informed to get more understanding of the problem and it’s possible solutions. Have a look and explore resources on migration, the global refugee crisis and the Syrian war:
    • We highly recommend watching this video that explains the causes of the current refugee crisis and situation in Syria while debunking myths and misinformation in just 6 minutes.

10. Report racist content in relation to the refugee crisis in media and online

As the refugee crisis unfolds across the EU, we’ve seen an increasing number of racist comments online, social and traditional media as well a raise of racist violence. If you come across any racist incident or content, please take a screen shot (if applicable) and report it to our racist incident monitoring tool www.iReport.ie so we can monitor and keep a record.  

  If you wish to add or update any information provided here email aga@enarireland.ie.

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