Sometimes, it’s all we can do to remind ourselves that we’re doing what we can to make the world a better place.
When the weight of the world’s problems are pressing too heavily against our already frayed nerves, it helps to imagine every nonprofit worker, volunteer, and donor in every corner of the world. Imagine each of them holding a broom, sweeping fervently at piles of crumpled up pieces of rubbish. The rubbish, of course, is problems: hunger, conflict, bigotry, poverty, climate change. It’s all of the human and animal suffering we all know is out there, but have to shut out of our minds in order to sleep at night. And we can admit to ourselves that, yes, there is a lot of rubbish. This year, it feels like the rubbish has quadrupled. But think of all of those nonprofit workers, volunteers, and donors, each with their little broom, steadily sweeping at the rubbish, doing what they can day by day.
It’s a small comfort, but sometimes it helps to put things in perspective.
In recent days, conflict in Syria has escalated. At PaperSeed, our guts are telling us that we need to expand our focus, take a few steps back, sweep a bigger area. It’s hard. We need more brooms. We need more sweepers. Sweeping a bigger area means our little corner gets less of our attention for a minute. But you can’t just stick to sweeping up the rubbish in your corner when your neighbor’s corner is literally on fire.
PaperSeed focuses on strengthening education because it is a panacea for a lot of the world’s larger, uglier problems. With the refugee crisis, right now, there is a huge swath of children missing out on this panacea, and that affects everyone. And so, while the metaphorical and literal fire is in one corner for now, that can easily spread, and then we’ll have millions of nonprofit workers trying to sweep away fire with brooms. No good.
Bearing that in mind, here are three big things you can do right now to help with the refugee crisis:
If your community has taken in refugees, there are things you can do to help them get by. As our amazing PaperSeed Day volunteers in Gothenburg, Sweden did, you can volunteer your time at a shelter and help out with paperwork (this is especially helpful if you have legal experience or can assist with translation.)
If you have recommendations for such organizations in your community that are seeking assistance, please let us know and we will update this article to help spread the word.
Use Your Voice:
Put pressure on elected officials, from local government all the way up to help the children in crisis. Sign petitions. Spread the word.
The UN estimates that there are currently 4 million Syrian children either out of school or in need of education assistance, including 700,000 out of school children and youth in host countries like Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan.
We cannot stand idly by during this season of generosity, when we celebrate family and comfort, and watch this tide of human suffering without standing and doing something. We hope you will join us and pledge to do what you can to ensure that all Syrian children receive the education they deserve.
Grab your broom- there’s work to do.