Friday, 4 September 2015

Babywearers Supporting Refugees

by Tami Grosset

The most recent news and images from the Syrian refugee situation in Europe has many of us jettisoned into action. We all know how wonderful babywearing can be to keep our babies safe in dangerous circumstances and some community groups and businesses have started collecting carriers to send to the refugee camps in Europe. But is this what the refugees need or want? Will there be aid workers at the camps who can instruct the parents on how to use the carriers safely? Are there more pressing needs for these displaced people that take priority? Is this the very best help we can offer?

If you want to send carriers to the refugee camps in Europe I'm sure they will help in a small way and here are a couple of sites that are collecting. I'm afraid I have not found a Canadian group as yet so you will have to cover the cost of shipping the carrier to the UK (money that could be used more directly if donated through another organisation.)

https://www.facebook.com/Slingsolidarity

https://www.facebook.com/EcoRoos/photos/a.343388832528483.1073741829.340880879445945/415460311988001/?type=1&hc_location=ufi

There are other ways you can help, however. Here are a few ideas;

UNICEF Canada focuses on providing humanitarian relief to children in many countries including Syria.

Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres provide medical assistance to people within Syria.

Migrant Off Shore Aid Station is an organisation that is 'dedicated to preventing loss of life at sea by providing assistance to migrants who find themselves in distress while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in unsafe vessels.'

Amnesty International is an international NGO focused on human rights.

Canadian Red Cross is part of the international Red Cross organisation and is working with the Syrian Red Crescent to bring humanitarian relief to the refugees.

UNHCR Canada is the UN Refugee Agency, it 'is a lifeline for people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution—helping them survive, recover and build a better future.'

The International Organization for Migration supports refugees by providing support services to international governments.

If you know of any other organisations that are sending direct aid please add them in the comments and I will edit as appropriate.

Another bigger way to help is to sponsor a refugee yourself, or as part of a group. Here's a link to help get you started;

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/sponsor/index.asp

Of course, if you can't help financially (and many of us just can't) then please join us in prayers and blessings (whatever power you believe in) for the innocent men, women and children who are struggling at this time.

Thank you.

7 comments:

  1. I contacted the Admin on FB for the group "Slings for Refugees- Canadian Group" and posed some questions that stemmed from this thoughtful discussion on OBG. I appreciate this discussion and hope that it creates awareness and appreciation- whatever your position is!
    Here is the Admin's response:

    There has been much talk about this internationally.

    My thoughts on it are if you can donate money, then please do (not everyone can). But once you have donated money, look in your closest and see if you have an extra sling as well. Chances are we all have one.

    Baby carriers are being asked for by folks on the ground (so we're hearing from volunteers) as people need a way to keep their small children/babies safe and most importantly with them, during their journey and the chaotic times after they arrive in what may or may not be a temporary destination. Can you imagine traveling hundreds of kilometres carrying your child in your arms or a car seat?

    In addition to physical safety, a carrier can provide comfort during a very chaotic and scary time for these small kids.

    Because baby carriers are a specialized item though, these are not going to be purchased with humanity aid, despite the practicalness in this item. Even if it were to be purchased, these times are hard to find and expensive in some countries.
    This is something that the baby wearing community can uniquely provide - a safety and security item that will also provide comfort to the most vulnerable population in this crises.

    This is a very thoughtful post from the Sheffield group on the subject. http://www.sheffieldslingsurgery.co.uk/slings-for-refugees/

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    1. whoops... posted before I was done...

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  4. Hi! I love this initiative and the carrier one - thank you for putting this together! I hope it is OK if I add another organization that provides support to refugees: World Vision (full disclosure I work as their policy advisor for peacebuilding and humanitarian affairs, and the Syrian refugee crisis is one of my main files). World Vision provides assistance to those in need as a result of this crisis in Jordan, Lebanon, Northern Syria and the Balkans (at this point mostly Serbia). We help for example by providing food and cash for food, clean water, hygiene and sanitation, winter items (clothing, blankets, stoves, heaters, fuel), shelter, health care, education and safe places for children. Please see further information here:http://www.worldvision.ca/ourwork/Our-Stories/Pages/Syria's-Refugee-Children.aspx.
    N.B. All donations given until 31 December to a registered Canadian charity that collects for humanitarian assistance to the Syria crisis (so not just World Vision :) ) will be matched dollar for dollar by the Canadian Government!

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