I was going to post about the feelings of sadness aroused in me this week as my eldest started school. How hard it was to see him growing up and getting more and more independent. About my baby gone. Then I saw the horrific picture of the three year old boy washed ashore in Turkey and read more about the growing refugee crisis in Europe. It was time to take my head out of my a**e and be grateful that at least my babies get the chance to grow up in the first place.
According to a new report published by the United Nations Refugee Agency, the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea has already exceeded 300,000 for this year (219,000 in 2014). It’s a dangerous route to take as we’ve seen by the pictures shown in the media this week and some 2,500 are estimated to have died or gone missing in an attempt to reach Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised that Germany will take 800,000 Syrians which has caused some uproar in other European countries as the refugees try to make their way to Germany. Some of the European countries are threatening to close the borders and have already introduced border controls, bringing up concerns over the sustainability of the “free movement”. UN is putting pressure on Ireland and UK to accept more refugees. A senior UN official has expressed that while Ireland is making an effort, we should be doing more.
While I don’t think “taking everyone in” is a lasting solution, we need to start somewhere. These people need help now, not next year or in 10 years’ time when someone might have come up with a different solution. The ideal solution would of course be to resolve the conflict, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. I would imagine most of the refugees would rather be home than in a country where they don’t know anyone, they don’t know the language and the culture is completely different to their own. But for now, they are not safe in their homeland and have had to flee. There is room for people in Europe. Yes, we’re coming out of a recession and some of us have taken some serious pay cuts but as long as you have a roof over your head and food on your table and your life is not in immediate danger everyday, you’re doing fine. So maybe instead of giving us more money in the next budget, the government could decide to use that money on helping those who need it more and increase the amount of refugees we take in? I can live without an extra fiver or so per child per month and I know many others can too…
In the meanwhile, I am going to take part in this Virtual Coffee Morning organised by Irish Parenting Bloggers and donate for the Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity. Please join us and donate whatever you can – it can also be clothes, tents, sleeping bags etc. Please see a list of required items here.
Or why not volunteer and donate your time and expertise? UN are always looking for volunteers and it doesn’t have to mean that you need to travel to other countries. They also need Online Volunteers who help with various tasks such as writing, translating, supporting project and resource management, and providing technical expertise. For more information, check the UN Online Volunteer website here.
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