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Volunteers Choose a Different Approach to Refugees

18 November 2015

In Europe we are lucky to have the freedom to choose, not least the opportunity to elect our Governments.

Many citizens are shocked by the choices some of these Governments are making with regards to addressing the humanitarian needs of refugees in Europe. 

A great number of the refugees in Europe are people who have overcome tremendous obstacles to reach our continent, a region they imagined would be a place of safety. Compared to the wars, poverty and persecution that they have experienced in their countries of origin, Europe is still probably a more secure place. Recent incidents have shown us however, that it is by no means free from all danger. 

Thankfully, lives are being saved because individual people have chosen to volunteer, to take action, showing solidarity and compassion in contradiction to the approach of many political leaders.  Volunteers provide refugees with crucial help and care in the form of clothes, food, and shelter. They provide a change-making example to others through their helping hands.

These voluntary acts of kindness, by huge numbers of European citizens, have not only changed and saved refugee’s lives, but they have changed the attitudes of others with regards to how they view and treat newcomers to their communities. This reflects and restores the intrinsic sense of solidarity and respect for human rights that is the real basis of Europe, an aspect that policymakers sometimes neglect, but volunteers demonstrate every day through their commitment and engagement.

We ask you, the policy-makers, to help provide the necessary means so that, when someone chooses to volunteer, the appropriate infrastructure is in place for them. Only through this will volunteer organisations be able to offer quality volunteering opportunities to all those who are willing to take positive action to meet the needs of refugees.  

  • Do you know what your volunteers need?
  • Will you join us in thanking all the volunteers supporting refugees in Europe on International Volunteer Day, 5th December 2015?
  • Will you help more people volunteer to choose to change attitudes & save lives?

Your commitment will mean that volunteers can be properly managed with the appropriate training, equipment, and support, and that refugees will benefit from the full potential of this incredible resource based on free will, generosity, and European values.

Your local, regional and national volunteer centres and agencies are ready to help you to help the volunteers.

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