How You Can Help Refugees

Giving By Emily Larson May 19, 2017

21.3 million people around the world are classified as refugees. Uprooted by violence, war, and persecution, many of these individuals struggle everyday in the hopes to find safety and stability. Being forcibly displaced disrupts refugees’ access to food, water, shelter, healthcare, education, employment, freedom, family and loved ones.

Everyone can do something to help refugees rebuild their lives. Check out 7 ways you can do your part below.

1. Become educated

The more informed you are about the crisis, the better you can provide help. Learn about the circumstances that led to refugee displacement and their daily hardships so you can determine how to make the biggest impact. Seeing the staggering statistics around the refugee crisis can help put the gravity of the situation in perspective.

2. Donate

If you are a My WU member, you can redeem1 your My WU points, in select countries, and Western Union will donate to the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative.  WPDI works toward improved education for refugee children.

Or you can donate to accredited, nonprofit organizations that make a big difference in refugees’ lives, like WPDI and the IRC.

You can also choose to conduct business with companies that are doing their part to help the cause. Western Union was recently recognized by the White House as one of 15 companies taking significant action in the refugee crisis.

3. Donate time

In addition to donating money, you can support refugees in crisis by volunteering your time. This can be done by signing up to be a United Nations volunteer or working in the U.S. at local resettlement centers. You could help by mentoring refugee families, providing tutoring, helping with child care, and assisting refugees to develop effective job seeking and interview skills.

4. Donate items

Things like furniture, used clothing, books and toys can help refugees feel more at home in a new environment. Local resettlement centers take donations that can be put to immediate use. Some organizations even have registries online where you can buy essential items that get shipped directly to refugees.

5. Fundraise

Rather than pointing others towards one of several major charities, starting your own fundraiser is a more personal way to enlist others to help. There are several to get started. To make it effective, set an attainable goal, make the cause clear and share details of the plan, like which charity you are donating to and what they do to help refugees.

6. Take Action with Chain of Betters2

Enter your idea on how to unlock opportunity for refugees in our Chain of Betters2 initiative with a chance to receive US$1000 to help turn this idea into reality. View some of the completed projects for refugees so far.

7. Advocate

Along with taking action, you can be an agent of change by encouraging others to get involved. Make the world understand that refugees are global citizens who are locked away from opportunity and need our support.  If you volunteer, sign a petition, donate money or read an informative article about the refugee crisis, bring it up at work and with your family and friends. Share it on social media or email it around.

Find out more about how Western Union is supporting refugees and ways you can join the cause at

  1. For every 10 points redeemed by My WU® members in the US through December 31, 2017, Western Union will donate $2, up to an aggregated total of $35,000, to the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative. This gift may not be tax deductible. WPDI shall use the gift received towards causes that support the education of refugee children across the globe.
  2. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents in eligible countries over 18 years of age. Subject to Terms & Conditions at