Make a Difference – Organizing a Refugee Collection

Make a Difference – Organizing a Refugee Collection

 

Organizing a refugee collection is simple. If I can do it, you can do it too. We can all make a difference by doing something, big or small. It doesn’t really matter.

 

I am Amy Zhuang, a member of Time for Equality and a 16 year old student at the International School of Luxembourg. From the 25th of November to the 22th of December 2018, I, along with two other girls, Lara and Luisa, organized a school-wide refugee collection with the help and partnership of Time for Equality and the human rights organization WISE.

Like many others, I first heard about the refugee crisis on the internet. Constantly receiving news alerts on my phone on fires in refugee camps, refugee suicides and government imposition of restrictive rules on refugees, I shared, frustrated, and raged behind the screen. Shared, frustrated, raged. Shared, frustrated, raged. And then it struck me, ‘What am I doing? Nothing.’

Therefore, when Rosa and Karen from Time for Equality and Clément suggested to me to launch a refugee collection initiative at school, I eagerly agreed.

To be fair, I was quite nervous in the initial stages of the project, grappling with my inner self: Will our school’s principal grant permission for the project? Will our school’s maintenance department provide storage room for the donation? What if most people are not willing to donate? However, I quickly garnered help from two other members of our school’s Global Issues Club and my friends, and with special thanks to Ms. Schweifler and Ms. Powell as well  as Ms. Isbecque and Ms. A. O’Flaherty, all my presumed fear vanished. Organizing the refugee collection challenged every bit of my expectation, tenfold.

Everyone was extremely supportive about the initiative: our school’s maintenance readily cleaned out a huge space in front of the Upper and Lower School lobby for the refugee boxes. Clément, founder of the organisation WISE, presented an impressive speech about the precarious situation of refugees in Northern France, and students, teachers, and even parents, wrote emails to me, expressing their zeal towards the collection.

Overall, we have raised over 3000 goods, including hygiene kits, makeup kits, cooking kits, books, tents, sleeping bags, and many more.

 

Truly, the initiative ignited a fire within me. When Clément got back to me, describing how families were pushed out and almost every refugee properties were destroyed by the police in the Calais jungle, I realized how important our and every assistance to the refugees are. Yes, maybe the 3000 goods we collected seem mere in front of the weekly police confiscation of refugee goods in Northern France, but every help does weigh. As I scrolled down Clément’s email, staring at the picture with refugee children smiling after receiving donations, I found my heart filled with glee.

Organizing a refugee collection is simple. If I can do it, you can do it too. We can all make a difference by doing something, big or small. It doesn’t really matter.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP?

  • Join us. Sign up as a volunteer. Any days you spend helping would be crucial for the wellbeing of others in the world.
  • Make a donation.
  • Take action.
  • Become a partner.

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