Ahlam is a 27 years old woman who lives in Algarad, the internally displaced camp in Lahj Governorate. She fled from Taiz 1,3 yrs ago.

“The clashes were very strong near our houses and our relatives could not go out to bring food or water. One day my husband went out to his regular work in a construction site, and received a number of bullets that took his soul and he left us”. 

Now she is a widow with no support, and she is looking after four children (Adyan 4 years old, Ahmed 6 years old, Taypa 8 years old & Fatima 10 years old). “I was afraid that bullets and snipers in the mountains will kill us if we approached these areas. I did not expect that my life would take this tragic turn and I would be left alone to take care of myself and my children”.

Her daily routine in the camp includes cooking breakfast for her children, but some days they do not have enough food for everyone and she has to go hungry for days so that the children can eat. She also prepares the children for school and her eldest daughters help her to bring water and firewood to the tent. 

Most of the people from her village have fled including her family, but they are not here in the camp with her. The weather in the camp is terrible and they do not have a proper roof so rain and dust in the windy weather gets inside their tent. They do not have appropriate shelter and now summer is coming with its hot winds.  It will be difficult to move around under the sun’s intense heat. Her message to the international community is to support us and our children in the displacement camps. “Help us and protect our basic rights of living in dignity. What we need most in the camp are food and water that provide us with our daily necessities in life”.

Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC

Take a small step towards solving a big problem

Every year, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) publishes an overview of the refugee situation around the world. This year’s figures show that, over the last decade, the number of displaced people has grown rapidly. In fact, since January 2012, the total has more than doubled, to an alarming 82.4 million today.

But is there anything we can do, as individuals, to help?

The short answer is YES! Luckily there are things that all of us can do to help. It’s also absolutely necessary that we choose to do so, if we are ever going to see an end to this crisis.

Every person deserves a dignified life, and every person matters. Even if the statistics seem overwhelming, helping people is always worthwhile. Even if you just manage to help one person, it makes the whole world of difference to that person.

So, what’s the problem?

The problem is not the displaced people themselves, it’s the situation that they find themselves in. The vast majority are just people like you and me, who have been forced to leave everything behind and flee to safety because they have no other choice.

The horrific challenges that many displaced people face are unimaginable to most of us. Yet they manage to keep going and keep searching for the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Monique Kanku Luboya, 45, stands in front of her new house with her  children (from youngest to oldest) Bambi Angel, 2; Sylvain, 4; Elyse, 6; Mopero, 8; Monique Kapinga,10; Berthine, 12; Marie, 18; and Agnes, 20. 

Photo: Itunu Kuku/NRC
Read caption Monique and her children stand outside their new home in DR Congo. They were forced to hide in the forest for five months after armed men attacked their village. Photo: Itunu Kuku/NRC

Those of us lucky enough to have been born in a safe corner of the world should act in solidarity with those who are not so lucky. Instead of viewing refugees as our enemies, we really should be inspired by them, and strive to make the world a better place for everyone, little by little.

Here are three things you can do to help people who have been forced to flee:

1. Use your vote!

Elect political parties that have humane refugee policies.

To end the refugee crisis, we need society as a whole to step up and take an active role in solving the problem. One of the best tools we have for achieving this is voting in alignment with these values at election time.

There are many things that governments can do to support the refugee cause. They can take their share of responsibility for protecting refugees and make sure they’re not sent back to dangerous situations. Wealthy countries can also increase their support for people living in conflict zones, helping them to rebuild their own societies.

By using your vote, you can push your own government in this direction. This sends a message to other countries: “Look, in our country we care about human beings across the globe. It’s time for you to acknowledge your responsibilities too.”

Stella, a community mobiliser with NRC, demonstrates the seven steps of handwashing as a preventive measure to protect IDPs from Covid-19.

Photo: Egily Hakim George/NRC
Read caption Stella, a community mobiliser with NRC in South Sudan, demonstrates handwashing as a way of protecting against Covid-19. Photo: Egily Hakim George/NRC

2. Donate to a humanitarian organisation

Contribute to real and lasting change for millions of people forced to flee their homes.

Many humanitarian organisations around the world are working around the clock to protect and support displaced people.

Here at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), we have 75 years of valuable experience helping displaced people. Like other humanitarian organisations, we live by the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. This means we work to support those who need it the most, no matter who they are or where they come from.

In 2020 we assisted almost 12 million people in need. When taking action, we try to focus on lasting solutions as well as emergency aid. For example, we provide education, help people to earn a living, and offer legal assistance to those in need. If we are going to continue to help displaced people, we need your support.


NRC works to support refugees and displaced people in over 30 countries around the world. Support our work today

• How long have you been working for NRC? Since September 
• How are the children responding to the activities they are learning at the center? “The children are responding beautifully. Each child takes it at their own pace and rhythm. The impact is positive and fruitful for the children. It gives them tools to cope better in conflict situations. How to deal with anger, how to deal wit fear how to deal with volatile thoughts with very efficient techniques.”

• What do the children tell you about the activities? “They get a lot of pleasure. They get a lot of joy, relaxation and wellbeing.”  

• What are the challenges you see with the children and the experience they have gone through? “Some have been slightly injured from the explosion. Others have witnessed terrorising moments. Some tell you they had shattered glass on their feet, on their faces. But we cannot generalise, these are certain cases.”

• What does the parents of the children tell you about the impact of NRC’s activities on their children? “The parents have said to me ‘what are you doing with the children, they are transformed. What are you doing with them, we want the same thing!’ They are feeling the evolution of their child.”

Transcript of video interview with Social Emotional Support Facilitator Chadi Zein:
These activities are one of the most important things that students must learn, not only in difficult times and in the occurrence of disasters and problems. This type of classes should be practice in every school around the world in order to achieve peace in the world. 
Because these activities, which they learn in these classes, allow them to discover what is happening deep inside them, and how they feel when something is happening or if they are thinking about an idea, if that idea is preferred or not, and what can I do for similar thoughts.
They are learning emotional intelligence, the feelings  and the thoughts, that’s means, what I can do when I am scared or sad or angry, should I let it control me and makes me tired and sick, or I manage it in a better way by reducing it and choose what is happening inside me.
He is like a farmer who cultivates his land, he doesn’t leave the weed in his land, but he removes them. The children respond wonderfully in this context.
First of all I ask them, I know when I ask a child how did you feel before and after the activities, from time to time and according to the design of BLB, you have to ask the child: how did you feel, did you do the exercises at home or not, and what did you feel after doing the exercises? He distinguishes where he feels.
For example, this is the scale of feelings, before coming to the center, the children don’t know what they are feeling, and a child lives a state but doesn’t think about it. 
As soon as he arrives in the center he learns how to think, if he is very happy or a little bit happy or a bit sad or very sad, or angry, then he learns that the feelings are normal things, they move like an ocean wave. 
Sometimes, some events cause stress, what I should do to be relieved, so that these events do not disturb me much. What I should do to reduce it. They learn all of this here.
It changes their lives in certain point, I know that this thing has happened in concrete terms from what they say and they tell you.
For example I have three students in one class they are brothers, once the old brother saw his other brothers fighting, he remembered that when they get angry they can do the deep breathing and use other tools, he reminded them of that but they didn’t listen to him, he went to a safe zone and relieved, then he went in the room, he saw his brothers paintings together and stopped fighting, they were communicating between each other.
That’s because all of them used the tools that they learned here, and they used them in their daily life, without need to anybody to remind them of these tools, they remember themselves so they feel more comfortable. 
Because of that, all the children must learn these type of exercises and tools, to be more satisfied and to have a valuable relationship between them and their friends, their teachers and their parents, this relationship should not be built on violence or anger etc.. But built on controlling the feelings and thoughts and to communicate through relations in a comfortable environment, which contains more dialogue.
Also it effects positively on their grades, as well as on everything they do. You asked me how do I know that. At the end of the course we speak with the parents, I ask them, did you see a progress, and they say yes we can feel a concrete progress   
The explosion in Beirut has affected all of us, as adults, in our works and activities, all of us are vulnerable to trauma. It was a trauma for everyone, it was a near-death experience, and we were almost being hurt. If it affected us like this, how did it affect children? The children are fresh dewy buds; definitely they were affected by the explosion. 
Someone thinks that a cloud is an explosion, another when he hears a loud sound, he thinks it is an explosion, and another if he sees smoke he thinks it is an explosion. It exists in their daily life and makes them worried, a part from what they saw, and some children saw very terrifying scenes. 
Sometimes the children speak about it. In the class we respect the privacy of the child, so we don’t ask the child to tell us what has happened to him. 
When we work on the events which cause stress, we mention the war and the explosion, which are among other events which happen.
There are children tell you, for example, if we do the breathing exercise or another exercise and said that it relieves us, sometimes a child come and tell you that he had pieces of glass in his leg,  or he was injured, every child spontaneously tells us, I don’t go through details with him but I continue the lesson, this thing is heard and drawn.
A child drew the explosion, I am not sure if it still here, some of them draws the explosion, everyone expresses using his style.
There are children have nightmares, other children can’t sleep, other children don’t want to go out of the house because they are afraid of an explosion.
By the way, they are the same symptoms that adults have them, everybody has the same symptoms. The explosion thundered… he is just a little child… we want to say that for all humans the explosion caused trauma for everyone.

Transcript of Interview with Social emotional support facilitator Chadi Zein:
You saw how the boy participated, he was great, he reached his limit, then he moved to another place. 
We wasted time on behavior issues during the last class.
Today it worked out because I made an intensive lesson about the content of the last lesson and the safe zone, because it was the occasion of prophet’s birthday, I had to do it intensive. 
These activities are one of the most important things that students must learn, not only in difficult times and in the occurrence of disasters and problems. This type of classes should be practice in every school around the world in order to achieve peace in the world. 
Because these activities, which they learn in these classes, allow them to discover what is happening deep inside them, and how they feel when something is happening or if they are thinking about an idea, if that idea is preferred or not, and what can I do for similar thoughts.
They are learning emotional intelligence, the feelings  and the thoughts, that’s means, what I can do when I am scared or sad or angry, should I let it control me and makes me tired and sick, or I manage it in a better way by reducing it and choose what is happening inside me.
He is like a farmer who cultivates his land, he doesn’t leave the weed in his land, but he removes them. The children respond wonderfully in this context.
First of all I ask them, I know when I ask a child how did you feel before and after the activities, from time to time and according to the design of BLB, you have to ask the child: how did you feel, did you do the exercises at home or not, and what did you feel after doing the exercises? He distinguishes where he feels.
For example, this is the scale of feelings, before coming to the center, the children don’t know what they are feeling, and a child lives a state but doesn’t think about it. 
As soon as he arrives in the center he learns how to think, if he is very happy or a little bit happy or a bit sad or very sad, or angry, then he learns that the feelings are normal things, they move like an ocean wave. 
Sometimes, some events cause stress, what I should do to be relieved, so that these events do not disturb me much. What I should do to reduce it. They learn all of this here.
It changes their lives in certain point, I know that this thing has happened in concrete terms from what they say and they tell you.
For example I have three students in one class they are brothers, once the old brother saw his other brothers fighting, he remembered that when they get angry they can do the deep breathing and use other tools, he reminded them of that but they didn’t listen to him, he went to a safe zone and relieved, then he went in the room, he saw his brothers paintings together and stopped fighting, they were communicating between each other.
That’s because all of them used the tools that they learned here, and they used them in their daily life, without need to anybody to remind them of these tools, they remember themselves so they feel more comfortable. 
Because of that, all the children must learn these type of exercises and tools, to be more satisfied and to have a valuable relationship between them and their friends, their teachers and their parents, this relationship should not be built on violence or anger etc.. But built on controlling the feelings and thoughts and to communicate through relations in a comfortable environment, which contains more dialogue.
Also it effects positively on their grades, as well as on everything they do. You asked me how do I know that. At the end of the course we speak with the parents, I ask them, did you see a progress, and they say yes we can feel a concrete progress   
The explosion in Beirut has affected all of us, as adults, in our works and activities, all of us are vulnerable to trauma. It was a trauma for everyone, it was a near-death experience, and we were almost being hurt. If it affected us like this, how did it affect children? The children are fresh dewy buds; definitely they were affected by the explosion. 
Someone thinks that a cloud is an explosion, another when he hears a loud sound, he thinks it is an explosion, and another if he sees smoke he thinks it is an explosion. It exists in their daily life and makes them worried, a part from what they saw, and some children saw very terrifying scenes. 
Sometimes the children speak about it. In the class we respect the privacy of the child, so we don’t ask the child to tell us what has happened to him. 
When we work on the events which cause stress, we mention the war and the explosion, which are among other events which happen.
There are children tell you, for example, if we do the breathing exercise or another exercise and said that it relieves us, sometimes a child come and tell you that he had pieces of glass in his leg,  or he was injured, every child spontaneously tells us, I don’t go through details with him but I continue the lesson, this thing is heard and drawn.
A child drew the explosion, I am not sure if it still here, some of them draws the explosion, everyone expresses using his style.
There are children have nightmares, other children can’t sleep, other children don’t want to go out of the house because they are afraid of an explosion.
By the way, they are the same symptoms that adults have them, everybody has the same symptoms. The explosion thundered… he is just a little child… we want to say that for all humans the explosion caused trauma for everyone.
Read caption Social emotional support facilitator Chadi Zein helps children affected by the Beirut explosion to deal with stress at an NRC learning centre. Photo: Sam Tarling/NRC

3. Spread the word

By sharing information about the refugee cause, you can challenge “fake news” and do your part to encourage more understanding and collaboration.

The internet is full of misinformation. Refugees are often presented as economic opportunists, or even as potential terrorists who seek to destabilise and destroy Western societies. These claims are untrue, and worse still, they’re dehumanising.

Refugees are people like everyone else, and they certainly do not deserve to be perceived as “the enemy”. There is no “us” and “them”, just us.

None of us wants to live in a society characterised by unfairness and blatant lies, and so we should do our best to speak up when we encounter “fake news” of this kind. Did you learn something from one of our articles, for example? Then share it or tell a friend about it! Raising awareness about a problem is the very first step towards solving it.

***

It’s easy to feel hopeless when we read and hear stories about the awful situations that displaced people face. However, it’s important to remember that no situation is hopeless until everyone loses hope. And why should we lose hope when there is so much we can do, and when displaced people themselves keep on hoping and striving for a better life?

Every great change in the world starts with small steps. Take your first step today.