CRS Responds to Syrian Refugee and Migrant Crisis
Once a vibrant hub of Middle Eastern culture and history, Syria been embroiled in a civil war for the past four years, which has killed as many as 200,000 Syrians and left approximately 10 million people displaced, inside and outside Syria. Catholic Relief Services is working with our Catholic Church partners and others across the region to assist more than 700,000 refugees with shelter assistance, education, food, medical care, hygiene and living supplies, livelihoods support and trauma counseling for children.
We invite you to respond with CRS by praying, learning, acting and giving with your campus community.
Raise your hearts and voices in prayer to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Syria.
Refugees hurry to the Mixer House distribution center near the Belgrade, Serbia bus station. CRS, working with Caritas, has been distributing hygiene kits, food and other basic items to the thousands of refugees that are passing through Belgrade daily. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS
CRS Ramps up Refugee Response in Europe (12.17.15):
CRS VP of Advocacy and Government Relations, Bill O'Keefe, is interviewed by MSNBC about Syrian Refugees in light of the Paris Attacks:
- CRS VP of Government Relations and Advocacy speaks on WYPR about the fifth anniversary of the Syrian Refugee Crisis (3.22.16)
- CRS Staff Caroline Brennan speaks on NPR: "The Syrian Refugee Crisis - Response and Resettlement" (from 18:05-28:00)
CRS Written Updates
- CRS Assists 1 Million Syrians Affected by Civil War (3.11.16)
- 5 Questions & Answers on 5th Anniversary of Syrian Civil War (3.14.16)
- CRS Ramps Up Refugee Reponse in Europe (12.17.15)
- Understanding Syrian Refugees, One Story at a Time (2.11.16)
- 7 Things You can do to Help
- Syrian Refugees: Meet the People Everyone's Talking About
- 5 Reasons Not to Punish Syrian Refugees for Paris Attacks
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Statement on Syrian Refugees and the Attacks in Paris
- Overview of CRS Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis
- Overview of how Catholics can respond: "Walking in Solidarity with Syrians"
- "Refugee Crisis: Delivering Aid, Experience, Commitment"
- "Providing Critical Services to Refugees"
In the News
US Department of State | "Myths and Facts on Refugees, Migration, and Humanitarian Assistance" | 4.19.16
WEAA | The Mark Steiner Show | "Update on the Syrian Refugee Crisis" | 3.23.16
Baltimore Sun | "Baltimore Agencies Bring Aid to Religious Minorities in Middle East" | 3.28.16
Award-winning Australian musician, Missy Higgins has released her newest song, titled 'Oh Canada', which is about 3 year old Syrian refugee Alan (originally reported as Aylan) Kurdi and his family's plight for sanctuary. The video clip of the song includes drawings by children in a Caritas program in Damascus, Syria. Missy Higgins was compelled to write the song after seeing the haunting images last year of Alan lying lifeless on a beach in Turkey. Alan's family, like millions of others, was fleeing the bloody conflict in Syria.
- "The 'Moral Imperative' to help Refugees" | Our Sunday Visitor | Featuring CRS VP Bill O'Keefe (2.19.16)
A young boy from Syria tries to stay warm inside a tent at a refugee aid point in Kanijza, Serbia. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS.
Pope Francis has urged generous support for refugees from Syria and elsewhere and has opened the Vatican's churches to host refugee families. He has also called on elected officials to be peacemakers and to press for a solution to violent conflict in Syria and beyond. You may not be able to house a refugee family, but you can still make a huge difference. Send a message to your members of Congress today and urge them to lead the world in a coordinated response to save the lives of our brothers and sisters in Syria
As conflict worsens in the Middle East, millions of displaced families need our support. You can create your own fundraising page to invite your peers to help provide immediate assistance to the families affected by the terrifying violence. You will receive a link/page to use that can be distributed widely on campus and/or used at a particular event on the topic. This is the perfect way to keep track of how much money is donated by your college or university.
ON-CAMPUS PROGRAMMING IDEAS
- Boston College: CRS Student Ambassadors hosted a series of 3 days of events related to the Syrian refugee crisis, including awareness raising, an evening of stories, and an interfaith prayer vigil.
- University of Scranton: CRS Student Ambassadors in collaboration with others on campus organized In Solidarity with Syria, a series of educational programs, advocacy opportunities, and prayer activities. Students have written to elected officials, attended lectures, heard first-hand experiences from advocates working directly with refugees, watched documentaries, organized vigils, participated in discussions on the topic, greeted refugees arriving in the Scranton area, and hosted a Refugee Simulation for 270 students.
- Cabrini College: CRS Student Ambassadors shared a moment of silence while holding prayer links for refugees
- Saint Joseph's University: CRS Student Ambassadors hosted an "Immigration Simulation" but adapted it to include the experiences of refugees around the world as well as other immigrants to the U.S.
- SJU Facebook Photo Album of "Immigration Simulation" event
- University of Louisiana at Lafayette & Villanova University: CRS Student Ambassadors hosted an interfaith prayer service, which involved prayer, learning, advocacy, and fundraising in solidarity with Syrian refugees and others suffering at the hands of ISIS around the world.
Refugees gather at a park near the Belgrade, Serbia bus station waiting for transportation to the Hungary border and relief items from the Red Cross. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS.