Helping Refugees is Within Everyone’s Reach

Organizations like the UNHCR take on the leadership role of covering the basic needs of the refugees… providing shelter, food, water, medical services, and education for the children. (Luisa Gonzales/Reuters)

NGO’s, supportive citizens, and even sports clubs cooperate to aid displaced people

Marc Serra

The wars, natural disasters, and climate change leave millions of people in the world without food or shelter.

Many flee the country when their lives are in danger because of their beliefs and sexual orientation.

To confront this reality, many organizations, including businesses and sports clubs, have been collaborating in improving the lives of the refugees. Here, we highlight some of them.


UNHCR, the UN Agency for the Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for The Refugees (UNHCR) is the main organization in the world to serve people who are displaced.

The UNHCR works in 138 countries in the world and has their headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland). It helps to come up with long term solutions for the displaced. In emergency situations, it provides shelter, food, water, and sanitation.

Founded in 1951, their first mission was to aid the refugees who escaped the violence of World War II in Europe. During that time, the United Nations (UN) enacted the International Refugee Law.

The document depicts who can be considered a refugee, the rights of asylum seekers, and calls for the signatory countries to work together to help those who are displaced.


Red Cross

This humanitarian institution functions thanks to its volunteers. It works to guarantee the daily basic needs of people. Founded in 1863 by Swiss merchant Henry Dunant, the Red Cross was one of the first organized initiatives to give humanitarian aid to victims of conflict.

The Red Cross has been active for 156 years and gives exclusive importance to the volunteers. Currently, over 12 million volunteers collaborate with the Red Cross around the world.

It offers emergency accommodation to those who do not have a home, sanitary, and psychological services. The institution also assists adults in searching for employment and education of children.


Proactiva Open Arms

This nonprofit organization rescues migrants travelling to Europe by sea.

It was created by a Spanish lifeguard and rescue company. It was founded in 2015 as a result of the increase in people searching for asylum in Europe.

From September 2015 to August 2018, almost 60,000 people were rescued by Proactiva Open Arms.



Apps4Refs is a Greek application for mobile devices, that aims to allow refugees to know about useful services in their area without having to depend on intermediaries.

Created by the ACSAR Foundation, its purpose is to help those in exile with basic service needs.

It has a simple design and self-explanatory icons to make it more accessible. Volunteers make a list of activities and offer useful information to the refugees. For example, locating sanitary, legal, and food services accessible to everyone.


FC Barcelona

The Barça Foundation has cooperated with the UNHCR in raising awareness about the refugee situation around the world. In 2017, the campaign #SignAndPass was launched to encourage soccer fans to show solidarity with displaced people.

Within the initiative, the Barça Foundation promotes the FutbolNet program which integrates disadvantaged young people into sports.

Participants play soccer matches where the score doesn’t matter but rather the values such as effort, respect, teamwork, and humility are put into practice.

Feature developed in collaboration with the Faculty of Communication and International Relations Blanquerna-URL

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