Help Us Help Syrian Refugees in Eastern and Southern Europe
Organized by: Davis Porterfield
EVENT DATE Oct 10, 2015
Europe is facing its worst refugee crisis since World War II. So we're using our time there to help as much as we can.
As we have all become aware of recently, the worst refugee crisis in Europe since WWII has been growing exponentially for the last few years, reaching high levels of crisis (and awareness) in the past few weeks. The refugees have been primarily fleeing Syria, where an estimated 4 million people (1/5th the population) have fled the country since the beginning of the war in 2011. As of January 2015, the UN estimates that over 220,000 civilians have been killed, and many thousands tortured and/or imprisoned. These numbers include over 10,000 children. The refugees coming to Europe are fleeing extraordinary violence and destruction from the ruling regime, various rebel movements, and now ISIS. These are not economic migrants, they are humans caught in a conflict they have no control over and trying to save their lives, and their children's' lives. Of course not all the refugees coming to Europe now are from Syria, though Syrians make up the vast majority. But many others are fleeing ISIS and other deadly conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and other regions where widespread violence and extreme drought make survival tenuous. It is worth nothing that many of these conflicts are directly related to recent and historical actions by the U.S. and European governments. Due primarily to reasons of geography, Europe is receiving the vast majority of these refugees. And because of reasons related primarily to politics, European governments have shown themselves to be unwilling and/or unprepared to face the situation, resulting in the humanitarian disaster we can now witness from the safety of our laptops. It has become evident that the citizens of Europe are stepping in to help where their governments are not, with individuals offering shelter, food, clothing, transportation and sometimes just a spirit of welcome to these hungry, exhausted and traumatized people.
This is where Ian and Davis come in. We had already planned and arranged a trip through Europe that was for business and pleasure when we began to learn more about what is happening there. Our route takes us through many of the countries experiencing the greatest level of crisis, such as Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and others. We decided that we would help as much as and in whatever ways possible while we there. Talking about this with friends we received offers of money to use for gas, supplies, etc for the people we encountered.
Which brings us to Crowdrise. Our personal expenses are funded, and the trip is paid for. We've got our own money set aside for helping. But more can always be put to use, and if friends and others want to pitch in, knowing that this money will go directly to helping individuals and families fleeing horrors, stranded and in great need, then here is the place to donate. We plan to ask people exactly what they need and how we can help them, and we imagine this will include food, clothing, ways to stay dry, transportation, and places to sleep, get warm, clean and do laundry. And something often overlooked but vitally important, hygiene necessities for women and babies. We will keep detailed accounts of where and how money is spent and will keep it all public. If we manage to raise enough money that we aren't able to use it all ourselves, anything remaining will go to an organization providing direct services to refugees, and with a good track record, such as MSF.
Thank you for any support you feel inspired to give! Ian Powell and Davis Porterfield