WE have nearly reached the end of the Lent study series on refugees which has given
WE have nearly reached the end of the Lent study series on refugees which has given us a huge amount to think about.
One comment that came from the audience was “but what can I do on my own?” This really was the basis of our series. How can we, as individuals, come together to make a real and significant difference to the lives of those refugees that we see day by day in the media?
We have seen and heard further details of the plight of Syrian refugees and the extent to which their homeland has been destroyed.
Many people forget that Syria has a long history of civilisation and many historic buildings. It was also a country with a vibrant economy and highly valued educational system.
Yet much of the historic fabric as well as the infrastructure has gone, as have the livelihoods, homes and businesses of ordinary people.
Our speakers have given a good steer how to move forward. We have already started by learning more about the conflict and how it is affecting ordinary people. We have seen that other members of the community are just as concerned as we are. And we have, I hope, come to realise that together we can make a difference.
We all have contacts with a huge range of organisations and individuals who can bring pressure on local and national government. We can help provide money for aid charities like the Red Cross. We can support the work of groups working with refugees in our neighbourhood, which might mean Reading or Oxford or Milton Keynes.
We can collect clothes or produce food parcels. We can help with transport or advocacy. We can help newly arrived asylum seekers with access to medical or social care or schooling or work. The list goes on and on but always there are things we can do to help.
The 18th century Irish writer Edmund Burke wrote some wise words which bring us back to our responsibility: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
The greatest fear in looking at this crisis is to think we are powerless to help. But truthfully we are able to offer the greatest gift we can. We can offer ourselves to make a difference.
We might be able to give an hour or a few pounds. Taken together, it can amount to a huge difference in the lives of others.
So do not say: “I can do nothing.” Rather, say “with others, I can do a great deal” and then do it.