If you’ve spent any time watching the news or reading the news, or even just scrolling through Facebook, you’ve seen images of the devastation in Syria. You may have said to yourself “oh, how terrible! I wish there was something I could do!” It can seem overwhelming to know where to donate, to research which organizations are really helping, and how much of your donation would actually reach families in need.
Enter Humanwire. This is a website that pairs people who want to help with refugee families. I’m going to tell you about the organization, the family that I am chairing a campaign for, and how you can help.
Humanwire works with nonprofits to find and vet refugees to participate. Once families are approved, a picture of them and a brief summary of their story is uploaded to the Humanwire website. Then, people like you and me can choose a family to chair a campaign for.
What does chairing a campaign entail? It’s easy! You choose an amount to fundraise for and how long the fundraiser will run, write a call-to-action, and start sharing your campaign!
What if we don’t reach our goal? Do I have financial responsibility for that as the campaign chair? No, you don’t. The family you choose will get whatever money you raise, whether you meet your goal, exceed your goal, or don’t meet your goal. You have NO financial responsibility for anything.
Can we increase our goal once it’s set? Yes, just contact Humanwire with your new amount and they’ll update everything for you!
How do I know the money is actually going to the family? Great question! There are a few ways. One is via your rewards. Like with many crowdsourcing sites, there are rewards for each level of donation. These include getting email updates, getting an address for the family, and Skyping with the family, among other things. For another way, see the next question.
I don’t feel comfortable just donating money…I’d rather donate for a need. Great! Families also give their hosts a list of needs for each family members. You can opt to purchase an item directly, and a photo of the family with the item will be posted once they receive it! This is separate from the rewards system, but a Humanwire representative said that if you talk to the host of whatever fundraiser you’re donating to, they can work with Humanwire to get you the reward you would qualify for.
How does the money get spent? The host, in conjunction with the family they’re fundraising for, decide.
Does Humanwire take a cut of the money? No. They subsist entirely on donations. When you donate to a family, you’ll be given the option to make an additional donation to Humanwire at the same time, IF you wish.
Now that those questions are out of the way, let me tell you a little about the family that my friends and I are fundraising for. Mohammed, Bassam, and Wessam fled Syria with their parents and some extended family members. Bassam and Wessam are the two eldest, and they both have cerebral palsy. It appears that Mohammed does as well, but their parents do not have the money to take him to a doctor right now.
Currently, their father lists his biggest needs as diapers, medicine, and medical treatment, all for his sons. The older boys are school aged but need special education so they are not currently in school. Their father has been trying to find a job in Lebanon, where they are right now, in order to support his family. If he were to come into a large amount of money, the father says he would open his own kiosk to support his family.
My friends and I have a goal of raising $4,000. It would be amazing if we could raise more than that. My family will be Skyping with them on Jan. 4th and I’ll be able to create a better budget at that point.
As a mom of kids with special needs, I am frustrated, angry, sad, and scared when I can not provide my children with services that they need. But, overall I lead a pretty privileged life. What Mohammed, Bassam, and Wessam’s parents are coping with is on an entire other level. Can you imagine leaving your entire life behind, with all your possessions, traveling to another country and hoping they would take you in, and then having to provide for your children’s complex medical needs on top of that?
Please help my friends and I help this family. We can’t stop the war in Syria. We can’t control how many refugees our country is willing to let in. But, we CAN help THIS family, and in doing so make a big difference in the lives of these children. When there is a way to help, we should take it. You may be able to donate a lot of money. Fantastic! You may be able to donate $5. Fantastic! You may not have any money to spare right now, but you can share this over social media, at work, at your place of worship, at your local library, etc. and encourage your friends and communities to help. Fantastic! Just please, don’t ignore this.