The current refugee crisis is devastating and almost unprecedented, with the number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe fast approaching a figure not seen since 1992, when conflict in the Balkans drove refugees to Western Europe.
As this international humanitarian crisis escalates further, however, citizens across Europe are proving just how compassionate humanity can be. Indeed, the response has been truly overwhelming. While governments have been striving to tighten border controls, ordinary people have been opening up their homes and their hearts. Citizens in Germany, for example, have set up an ‘Airbnb for refugees’ called Refugees Welcome, where people in Germany, and across Europe, can either offer refugees a place to stay, or sponsor a month’s worth of rent.
Here in York, the response has been just as heart-warming. Our own Minster has opened its doors to families in desperate need of help; and we ourselves at Oxfam Books Petergate have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our community.
But more needs to be done. The conflict in Syria – where the majority of these refugees are coming from – is not letting up, and Oxfam estimates that over 12 million people in Syria alone are in desperate need of humanitarian aid. It is up to us to help provide this aid, and to offer these people refuge in our country.
If, like us, you have been deeply moved by the refugee crisis, then Oxfam has several ways you can help.
Waterstones have teamed up with Oxfam to raise money for the Syria Crisis Appeal. All you have to do is buy one of the participating books from any Waterstones store, and all the money from your purchase will be donated to Oxfam. You can view the list of selected books here, and follow the campaign on Twitter by using #BuyBooksForSyria.
You can also donate directly to the Syria Crisis Appeal online, by clicking here to help fund Oxfam’s invaluable work.
So far, Oxfam have delivered 10 million litres of water to Lebanon, distributed hygiene materials to over 90,000 people in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, and helped provide 500,000 people in Damascus with safe water. You donations can help do even more for these people in need.