5 ways to help this week (13/09/2020)

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

Each week the WCWD team adds new content to the site – we keep it relevant to make sure you’re informed on the latest!

But because we also know it can be overwhelming with so much information flying around, we’ve collated five new things for you to get involved in this week – whether you do one or all five, you can make a difference.

This week, our hearts are broken. The world is on fire, and it needs our help to extinguish it!

1. The US is on fire: Donate to support people affected by the wildfires raging across California, Washington and Oregon

More than 100 historic wildfires burning across the US have caused many people to be imprisoned in a nightmarish red sky without sun or the light of day. These are currently destroying homes, provoking mass evacuations, and polluting the air.

What’s happening?

In Oregon, more than 500,000 people, about 1 in 10 residents, have been forced to evacuate and more than 15 people have been killed in the West Coast fires.

The number of acres burned in California is 26 times higher than in 2019 for the same time period. The area burning is larger than the State of Connecticut.

Photo from redcross.org

What can we do?

Read about the role of the Red Cross in providing wildfire relief, including shelter, food and comfort. They are currently supporting thousands of people who have had to leave their homes in California. Support them by making a donation.

You can also make donations to wildfire relief funds through GlobalGiving, or GoFundMe.org’s general relief fund which distributes grants to various individual and community campaigns.

Other groups looking for donations include:

American wildfire raging
Photo from GlobalGiving.org

2. The Moria refugee camp is on fire: help Doctors Without Borders provide medical aid to refugees in Greece

Last Tuesday night, an enormous fire destroyed the overcrowded Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. This camp was home to more than 13,000 people - six times its capacity.

Thousands are left without shelter and having lost all their possessions. Children are without their families. Moria is also facing a COVID-19 outbreak, and there is an urgent need for sanitation, shelter, food, water, and support.

Families have been left to sleep in fields, on roads and even in a cemetery after escaping the fire.

Migrants, refugees and even residents on the Greek island are protesting against the rebuilding of a new camp, where they were living in poor and unhygienic conditions, and are asking for freedom.

Fires in Moria camp, Greece, from Choose Love's emergency fund page. Photo credit: Thanasis Voulgarakis

Charities and groups working in these camps have been warning about a crisis such as this for a long time.

“There is no question as to the cause of this fire: the years-long orchestration of human suffering and violence produced by European and Greek migration policies are to blame,” Aurélie Ponthieu, MSF advisor on displacement.

MSF's paediatric clinic on Lesvos treats children with complex medical conditions. Some are life-threatening, such as asthma, epilepsy and injuries sustained from war.

Their mental health specialists regularly see children – some younger than six years old – suffering from depression and anxiety, and others who are self-harming or attempting suicide.

What can we do?

Support the work of Medecins Sans Frontieres with a donation to help them provide life saving medical aid to displaced refugees.

You can also join their campaign and write to your MP using their tips, to ask the UK government to provide sanctuary to refugee children, and ensure safe routes to the UK remain open.

Donate to Choose Love’s Moria fire emergency response fund to help provide emergency shelter, food, water, supplies and support to those who have lost everything.

Looking for other ways to support refugees? Take part in a raffle organised by the Calais Food Collective, which provides food and water for 2000 people every day in northern France.

Each ticket costs £2, and you can win prizes such as prints, jewellery and pottery. The raffle will be drawn on Tuesday 15th September.

Check out our Spotlight on Refugees blog post for many more ways you can help.

Moria camp in Greece 2020 © MSF
Greece 2020 © MSF

3. Syria is on fire: speak up to raise awareness

Fires have been destroying one of the biggest forests of Syria for 5 days, spreading to the western and coastal areas of the country; from Latakia port to the Masyaf mountains in Homs.

On the 7th September, 24 fires broke out in a single day.

It has been said that about more than 7000 hectares have been burned. Farmland that families rely on for food and income has been destroyed.

It’s not over. The fire is still going in the Hamah countryside.

Donations are blocked in Syria, but you know what else you can do? Share!

Use your socials to your advantage by sharing news stories such as this one from Arab News on your social media platforms to raise awareness. The more awareness, the more likely news anchors that will report it and encourage more countries to get involved in providing aid.

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on September 8, 2020 shows a Syrian man attempting to put off a fire on a hill in Ain Halaqim, in the western countryside of Syria's Hama governorate. (AFP)
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on September 8, 2020 shows a Syrian man attempting to put off a fire on a hill in Ain Halaqim, in the western countryside of Syria's Hama governorate. (AFP)

4. Meet the charity: The Hunger Project

This week’s Voices of Change contributor was The Hunger Project, a global charity which works towards a sustainable end to world hunger. They do this by empowering women and men to end hunger in their rural communities.

There are already more than 820 million people living in chronic hunger, and the spread of COVID-19 means that 265 million could face severe food insecurity or famine (source: World Food Programme).

The Hunger Project has been able to mobilize over 500,000 local leaders in 13 countries around the world to deliver correct information and support to communities at risk during COVID-19, to make sure no-one is left behind.

Support them by getting involved with one of their food challenge fundraising campaigns such as Live Below the Line, where you live off £5 for 5 days; the No Sugar challenge, or A Day in Her Food, where you spend 3 days ‘in the food’ of women in Senegal, Peru and Bangladesh.

Learn more by connecting with them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Linkedin.

This week, the world is on fire, bringing out the urgent need to become more sustainable and tackle climate change. Trees, nature and animals’ natural habitats have been completely destroyed, along with many being displaced or losing their lives in the flames.

5. Simple sustainable swap: take part in Second Hand September

According to Oxfam:

It would take 13 years for one person to drink the water needed to make one cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans
The clothes sent to UK landfill every year weigh as much as the Empire State Building
Every week, the UK sends 13 million items of clothing to landfill

So what can you do? Take the 30 Day Pledge!

Join the Second Hand September pledge to shop only second hand for 30 days or more. Share your pledge using #SecondHandSeptember and tagging @OxfamGB on Instagram and Twitter.

You can also shop with Oxfam, which reinvests your money into helping the poorest people on the planet.

Share this with others by downloading and sharing Oxfam’s social media images.

Think that being sustainable requires a lot of time and money? Think again!

Attend Sustainable(ish)’s free Zoom meeting this Monday at 8.30pm, which shows you ‘how to be sustainable(ish) when you’re knackered and juggling all the things’. Register here to attend.

You can also Sign the petition A Citizen’s Call for a Global Sustainable Economy at change.org calling on governments, international bodies, and companies to transform the global economy into one that is sustainable.

Finally, read our Spotlight blog on sustainability to learn more about the facts and figures and what you can do to help.

Come back again next week for more ideas about how you can get involved and make a difference. In the meantime, if you know of any initiatives in your community that you think we should promote get in touch.

Have some more time to give? Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and at our website for more inspiration.

Do you want to be our next guest blogger for our Voices of Change blog series or want to write for our Spotlight series? Then please get in touch.

More things you might like:

The British Lebanese Association | Voices of Change

The Shadow Pandemic |

Spotlight On: Violence Against Women and Girls

FEAST! | Voices of Change

Hospitality Action | Voices of Change

Breaking the Taboo | Spotlight On: Suicide

Chit-Chat | Voices of Change

How signing petitions makes a difference

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