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: 14/08/19

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 support@enarireland.ie if you wish to add or update any information.

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

Art exibition: Time as Form introduces the work by asylum seeker and refugee artists, represented by Spirasi, for the first time to the public. In a response to the lived experience of trauma, these artists have made work in the process of recovery and rehabilitation in Ireland, including while living in direct provision.

United Against Racism invites you to a demonstration calling to end Direct Provision System.

  • Sat, 21st September, 2019 from 4PM – 10:30PM Black Pride Ireland  invites you to their first event with Queer Action Ireland in Dublin to support MASI – Movement of Asylum Seekers  conference!

Say No to Direct Provision in Ireland invites you to an information session and discussion on the subject of Direct Provision in Ireland.

All welcome! MASI is having its first conference, marking five years since we first came together in solidarity and resistance against the inhumanity of direct provision and deportation.

The City Colleges Psychology Faculty invites you to a conference about Trauma and Direct Provision and the impact of Direct Provision on individuals while seeking asylum and refuge in Ireland. Direct Provision residents will be supported in attending this conference. Contact the organiser for details and arrangements.

 Do you have an event coming up or know about one? Let us know by emailing support@enarireland.org!

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

Amnesty International develop a free online course on:  Human Rights: The Rights of Refugees. This course will teach you about the human rights of refugees and empower you to defend them. What are these rights? Who is responsible for upholding and protecting them? How can we hold them to account?

Irish Refugee Council prepared two 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: 

The ENAR Ireland Responding to Racism Guide: How to Report Racism and Where to Find Help’. It is primarily a guide for following up on incidents by someone who has experienced or witnessed racism, and/or those supporting them.

3. 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.

  • Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland is a group where you can find information on various actions and activities. Please check their Facebook page for updates how you can get involved.
  • 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.

4. Volunteer

  • 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

5. Donate to groups and charities working with refugees in Ireland

Non-monetary donations

  • Back to school collection for children living in Direct Provision Centre. Please consider picking up an extra item or 2 at your next Back2School shop, this will greatly help a child living in direct provision.
  • Homeless Period Ireland: The aim of the HPI is to donate feminine hygiene products (pads, tampons, liners, wipes) to those who otherwise would go without. The donations are brought by volunteer drivers to Homeless Outreach Centres, Direct Provision Centres and Women’s Refuges.
  • The Irish Benders & Burners collective is currently building stove burners for refugees in France and collecting materials to bring there for tents etc.
  • IT equipment – contact Disaster Tech Lab at contact@disastertechlab.org to see what they need.
  • Instruments – Music Against Borders are taking donations of old or unwanted instruments for the migrants at Calais.

Monetary donations

  • 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.
  • Donate to Phone Credit for Refugees and Displaced people to supply refugees with mobile internet and calls. 
  • Amal for Refugees: Amal Women Association are raising funds for their refugee project 2019 for the newly arrived refugees in Ireland.
  • 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.
  • Trócaire – donate for their Refuge Crisis Appeal here.
  • The UNHCR can be donated to directly here.

6. 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.

7. Befriend and socialise with refugees and asylum seekers

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. Challenge uninformed views, debunk myths and stay informed

  • Amnesty made a really good video of Rania Ali, a refugee from Syria debunking myths and lies about refugees that we often hear in the news and used by politicians to create fear.
  • 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.”

9. Contact your political representatives & sign petitions

  • 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.

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.   Click to Report Racism

You can aswell download the ‘Responding to Racism Guide: How to Report Racism and Where to Find Help’. This guide is designed as a supplement to the iReport.ie system. It’s for following up on incidents by someone who has experienced or witnessed racism, and/or those supporting them.

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