It's easy to feel totally crushed under the weight of human suffering within the refugee crisis, and also as though there is no way you can help. At least that's how I felt at first.So I took advice from Mr. Rogers: "Look for the helpers. You will always find people helping." I started looking. And I started to feel better because I could see an entire movement of people devoted to making things easier for refugees—through aid, advocacy, and education. By learning about these initiatives, I was also able to see how I could help, too.
Feeling empowered, even on a very small scale, is a powerful antidote to the crushing despair one can feel when being overwhelmed by all the suffering in the world. So now I promote the work of those who are helping refugees, and I do this for many reasons: First, it is much easier to engage with the crisis when you do it alongside other people who are making a positive difference—what the world needs is more people willing to engage. Second, I provide ways for you to feel empowered to help by lending your time, money, or voice to these issues. And, third, I do it as an important reminder that humanity is alive and well, and that there are more good guys than bad in the world. I need this reminder to stay positive and focused, and I suspect many other people to, too.
To this end, I write stories about people who are helping. As I’ve learned more about how to make a difference, I have become an active independent volunteer. Sometimes I write about what I’ve learned as a result.
During the day, I am the communications director for The Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. All opinions are my own.