Regardless which media you follow, it is fair to say that it is difficult to fully understand what is going on here and abroad, and even more difficult to know how best to help. At DRS we are all on that learning curve but offer what we have gathered and understood over the last few years, to offer residents a chance at doing something that is effective and useful individually or together. Here are some ideas below, of what we believe helps.
1. BETTER UNDERSTANDING: when we talk to people more in details about what we know, what we hear back often is a genuine: "I had no idea!". Our founder, Connie Nash, said that often when she started asking questions in 2015. What people have come to call the "Refugee Crisis" is a complex issue. News keeps on coming up, sometimes upsetting, often confusing. Some fundamental principles are simple enough, but situations evolve constantly, internationally and within countries, they involve complex processes, laws and political choices, emergencies, they are often highly charged emotionally, humanly and politically, whichever country you look at. We find that a better understanding really helps deciding what to do or not do. The media take on the refugee crisis cannot be all encompassing, no matter how unbiased the outlet is.
2. SHARE and RELAY RELIABLE INFORMATION: as events and situations evolve fast, it is important to share information between those who wish to help. Over the last few years, DRS has developed good cooperative relations with other local groups, most of them grass roots, in Epsom, Guildford, Kingston, Crawley, & Reigate. All these groups are helping one another relay information about initiatives, to allow more people to get involved in one off events or more regular volunteering. DRS has helped groups like Guildford and Woking Hosting Hub, Rock 4 Refugees (Guildford), Epsom Refugee Support, the Samara Appeal, Surrey Aid, volunteers in Camberley, Cobham, Reigate, and many have been helping us back. Because news outlet are often reluctant to publicise some of those efforts as the issue is highly charged and considered controversial sometimes, we spread information through mutual publicising, and it really helps.
3. SIGN PETITIONS: We will share online petitions on this site when they come from trusted sources, like Citizens UK, the Refugee Council, Amnesty International, or from people or group trying to help on a specific issue: for example, protesting against the un-necessary detention of a person, or supporting Lord Dubbs in his efforts to protect children refugees.
4. CONTRIBUTE TO FUNDRAISERS: some fundraisers are local, they can take various forms, cake sale, concert, festival, many are online, and even £2 or £3 will support efforts and morale of the people running them. Our friends at Anaya Aid do frequent ones, which we will publicise here: their policy is of 100% donations, and we appreciate that none of the volunteers are paid for their efforts, to optimise the aid. If you are slightly nervous about donating online, let us know, we'll do our best to help.
5. RUN YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER: if you wish to run a fundraiser for a charity helping refugees or asylum seekers, we can help out: you stay independent, but we can publicise your event, invite DRS supporters to contribute even volunteer on the day and put them in touch with you, spread the word to other towns in the area.
6. DONATING GOODS OR CASH AT A LOCAL COLLECTIONS
7. RUNNING YOUR OWN COLLECTION
8. FRIENDLY SUPPORT TO LOCAL REFUGEES AND RESETTLING FAMILIES
9. HOLDING TALKS AND PRESENTATIONS: you may be involved with a school as a teacher, student or parent, or with a club, charity, place of worship, or a company. Some of our volunteers can come to you and talk about various subjects related to refugee support We have Audio Visual Support for it, therefore can run presentations and workshops, from a 5 minute quick presentation during an event to a full 2 hour session. We can talk about: Hosting, What can a small town to, the Geneva Convention on Refugees, general talks about the Refugee Crisis.
10. TRANSPORT: if you have a van, you can help us at collections when these are run, transporting the aid to the Crawley Anaya Aid drop off point.
10. TEACHING AND COACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE - we can put you in touch with the different groups currently operating in the Epsom & Ewell / Mole Valley area.
11. HOSTING A REFUGEE OR ASYLUM SEEKER
12. SPONSORING /ASSISTING A REFUGEE WHILST THEY ARE HOSTED NEARBY