Blog 1: The Refugee Rhetoric


In our globalised and technological age, there is a wealth of coverage within the media surrounding refugees. There seems to be news story after news story about huge displacement issues within the European Union, or large numbers of individuals struggle to cross borders. There’s coverage on the Australian #letthemstay movement, or vivid video clips Trump’s controversial statements regarding foreign individuals entering the United States. Common words are thrown around too: ‘Syria’, ‘Atrocities’, ‘Boat People’, ‘Need for Action.’


This type of coverage may not only be alarming and shocking to some, but also confronting – after all, the issue seems to be both insurmountable, and heavy in the way it is represented. So, how much of what they say in the news is true? Is this issue truly as terrible as is appears? Is there anything we can even do about a problem so large?


In short – YES. There IS something each of us has the capacity to do in order to make our contribution. But this requires moving beyond ‘refugee rhetoric’: that is, not just merely being able to discuss or research the issue, but take the required action. It means doing more than simply liking a facebook page, or reading a brochure or news article and never thinking about it again.


So, you ask, what are some things one can do? There is no simple answer, for often the issue seems far removed from our daily routines and interations. However, there are possibilities regardless of one’s background, age, job or knowledge on the subject. It starts with being informed on the subject of refugees itself, then making your own decision as to what action to take:


Working Professionals

  • Consider reliable and unbiased news sources to understand what’s happening: typically, that means independently run news groups, and reading from a variety of sources

  • Volunteer your time and skillset: doctors or lawyers could provide very meaningful change through pro bono work, but so can professionals from many other fields

  • For instance, teachers can introduce the topic into their curriculum (Cirriculum Ideas)


University Students

  • Consider joining a society on campus that may be involved in the issue: Human Rights Watch, Oxfam

  • Participate in fundraising days, or create your own. There are a huge number of charities who could benefit from donations

  • Take a human rights class

  • Attend a conference in your area

  • Watch a movie on the topic (and invite your friends, so you can come to understand it together. See: 13 Powerful Films About Refugees You Need To See’)

  •  (Or, if you’re enthusiastic like the KindNecessities team, you can start your own charity to tackle the issue!)


High School

  • Speak with teachers who are well-versed in the subject and ask them what their thoughts are

  • Ask if human rights can be incorporated into your curriculum: maybe a mock simulation on a UN Refugee summit, or read an interesting English book about the topic

  • Watch a documentary (Netflix is everyone’s best friend, after all)


Primary School or Younger

  • Ask your parents what they know

  • Speak with your teacher

  • See if a book is available on the topic at your local library


Making a difference about an issue does not have to be a grand gesture – take the first initial step and see where you can contribute.


By Sian Pannach