Sep 7th, 2015
Refugees: Chip in for the Survival Fund
By Rebecca Falcon
The story of Aylan, the toddler who drowned trying to escape the war in Syria, has moved 38 Degrees members to do something amazing. Together, we’re piling pressure on MPs and local councils to do all they can to help – and now, the government’s just pledged to help more mums, dads and kids find safety in Britain.
But for families living out of a backpack, the struggle won’t end when they reach our safe shores. Imagine the terror of being forced out of your home, seeing your family broken apart, arriving in a strange new country – and then facing a winter with nothing.
That’s where we come in. 38 Degrees members have joined forces with Citizens UK and Avaaz to launch a Survival Fund to give emergency help for refugees arriving in Britain. It’ll make sure that our new guests have somewhere to sleep, something to eat and warm clothes to wear. But it’ll only happen if enough of us chip in to get it started.
The Survival Fund will bring together donations from charities, businesses and ordinary people. It’ll make sure that every family has the basics while they’re away from home. It could make sure they have:
– Children’s essentials, by collecting donations for pyjamas, shoes and coats
– Places to live, by finding empty buildings to bring back into use
– A warm, supportive welcome and a home-cooked meal, by introducing refugees to local families
This isn’t the first time British people have stepped up to help desperate people in need. During WWII, thousands of Jewish refugees found shelter on British shores. And during the deadly Kosovo conflict in the 1990s, Britain provided urgent relief for persecuted families. In the 1970s, Vietnamese boat people fleeing war were even rehoused in empty hospitals. It’s things like this that make us proud to be British.
The crisis in Syria is going to go down in history as a human tragedy. But if we work together, we can look back on our actions with pride. A people-powered Survival Fund will make sure that people arriving in Britain get the urgent help they need. It’ll bring together churches, charities, doctors and businesses – all determined to make sure that Britain provides a welcome for refugees that we can be proud of.
Most of us will already know someone who has first-hand experience of what these families are going through. In the 1940s, thousands of British children were forced to flee our cities to the countryside because of the blitz. These evacuee children left their families behind on frightening journeys far from home, but the welcome they received from strangers was life-saving. 
Together, 38 Degrees members could do the same now for families fleeing war again. The conflict in Syria has been called one of the most tragic mass displacements of people since the second world war.
Last week’s people-powered outcry to speak up for refugees was a breakthrough moment. It’s forced the government to help more people – and that’s going to save lives. Please chip in £10 now to the Survival Fund to give desperate mums, dads and kids the help they need to get back on their feet.