“What can I do to help refugees”? As the debates raged on social media on whether Canada and the US should accept more refugees, Arvinder and I noticed this question come up repeatedly.
As children of immigrant parents in Canada, the stories of refugees and their plights were taught to us and became part of our identity. In 1914, the Canadian government banned the Komagata Maru from making landfall on the shores of Vancouver British Columbia. 352 Sikhs were forced to return to India after an extremely large journey. In 1939, the US government sent away a ship carrying Jewish refugees on the SS. St. Louis.
Thankfully, despite all the apparent negativity that comes with it, we live in a world today where everyone can know everything happening to their world. They can know what their friends think about it and be inspired by what others are doing about it.
We were inspired. We saw many individuals stating they wanted to do something to help refugees, publicly, but didn’t necessarily know how to start, who to call, or what the very first step was. They knew from the news and social media feeds that government was doing something and many non-profit organizations were doing something, but how could an individual help?
As technology entrepreneurs, we decided to build GiveRefuge.com to help people help refugees. GiveRefuge is a simple and easy platform to connect people who want to help refugees in North America with the nonprofits and refugees that need their support.
Our hope and intention is that we can act a navigator of civil society with respect to refugees. We welcome your input and feedback as we continue on this journey to provide support to refugees.
-Herman and Arvinder