Human Kindness Blankets Syrian Refugee Efforts

You can’t watch a television newscast or browse Twitter without hearing about the Syrian refugee crisis: tent cities, broken families, and uncertain futures.

In March 2011, civil war broke out in Syria, causing approximately 12 million Syrians to flee their homes to date, according to World Vision. While many Syrians have sought refuge in neighboring Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, many more have spread across Europe and beyond.

Working Together for the Common Good

Each day, Syrian refugees apply for political asylum in the European Union (EU). The EU has already provided humanitarian aid to 150,000 displaced Syrians and plans to house 33,000 more, predominantly in Germany, according to the Migration Policy Centre.

The numbers are staggering. The images of refugee families waiting in line to find out if they have a legal place to call home are heartbreaking — and every single person has a story to tell.

Up Close in the Face of a Crisis

Brandon Stanton, a documentary photographer–turned–modern-day storyteller, founded Humans of New York (HONY) in 2010. His initial focus was to catalog the lives of individual New Yorkers through images, words, and maps, but his project now flows beyond the boundaries of New York.

Stanton is putting faces and personalized accounts of the Syrian refugee migration in the public eye. He wants social media and blog followers to go beyond headlines and meet the people affected by the refugee crisis. He photographs overcrowded camps, puts names to the dead, and tells stories of triumph and glimmers of happiness despite the grim situation.

HONY’s Facebook page goes into further detail on individual stories. In one Facebook post, Stanton tells the brief story of a family that decided to leave Syria and find refuge in Jordan after hearing a family member get shot by a sniper outside their home. Another post highlights the generosity of a refugee family offering a homemade meal to Stanton in their meager home at a camp in Jordan.

Thoughtfulness Abounds in Times of Need

The EU and HONY aren’t the only organizations coming to the aid of the Syrian people. The Austrian Red Cross has offered meals from mobile units to over 15,000 refugees entering Hungary, the Hungarian Red Cross provides blankets and waterproof coverings, and the Red Cross of Serbia makes sure refugees have access to hygiene items and showers.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is providing education, clothing, and immunizations to the displaced children seeking refuge in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and beyond. World Vision is giving mothers of infants basic care items, including diapers, baby soap, and even toys for their children.

This handful of inspiring acts are a snapshot of the kindness that’s pouring out to the Syrian people. Organizations, individuals, and volunteers from around the globe are descending on the Middle East and Europe to assist.

Sometimes we must dig deep to find inspiring, positive stories and celebrate those who help others up and out of despair at their greatest times of need.

Image source: Bigstock