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Illegal migrants demonstrate against British government, on Aug. 20, 2015 in Calais, Philippe Huguen—AFP/Getty Images

Here's How You Can Help Migrants in Europe

Sep 03, 2015

Every morning, news sites and social media are filled with stories about the worsening crisis facing migrants in Europe — of the 350,000 to have reached Europe's shores from north Africa and the Middle East this year, tens of thousands are stranded at border camps waiting for applications for asylum, while others attempt to find shelter and food in cities and towns across the continent. Some 3,500 have died in the attempt to seek refuge from poverty, or unrest.

While governments debate how best to tackle the desperate conditions facing displaced people in Europe, here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Donate money

There are a number of organizations that you can donate to. Médecins Sans Frontières and UNICEF are both helping the refugees, along with other well-established organizations like Save the Children and the Red Cross. There are other groups working specifically for this crisis. Migrant Offshore Aid Station sends rescue boats to migrants at risk of drowning, and the Aylan Kurdi Fund was established after a photo of a drowned 3-year-old boy went viral.

Or you can donate to more grassroots efforts, including two set up to help migrants seeking entrance to the U.K. camped out at the French coastal town of Calais: Glasgow Solidarity with Calais Migrants or Association Salam, where individuals are crowdfunding to drive to Calais with supplies.

2. Donate supplies

You can also donate things other than money. Amazon has a registry for supplies to buy for refugees in Calais. Refugees Welcome is a kind of "Airbnb for refugees" where people can share their homes with the migrants. Some organizations are looking for very specific types of donations - The Jungle Library is a makeshift library set up at the migrant camp in Calais, and it's looking for books. Music Against Borders is seeking musical instruments for the camp at Calais.

Or — if you live nearby — you can donate whatever you have by going to one of the drop-off sites organized by Calais People to People Solidarity or Calais Action.

3. Lobby the government

There are numerous petitions you can sign calling for European governments to accept more migrants, or you can lobby the government yourself. Avaaz.org is looking for volunteers in Europe to lobby their local legislatures to increase the number of refugees housed in their area.

Photographers Aim to Put a Face on Europe's Migrant Crisis

Ras Ajdir, Tunisia. 03/2011 - Border between Lybia and Tunisia. Refugee from Lybia in the camp. Community from bangadesh protesting for the conditions.
Refugees from Libya rest in Ras Ajdir, a coastal town on the border between Libya and Tunisia in March, 2011.Davide Monteleone—VII
Ras Ajdir, Tunisia. 03/2011 - Border between Lybia and Tunisia. Refugee from Lybia in the camp. Community from bangadesh protesting for the conditions.
Refugees run to reach their transport to continue their journey in Libya, near the border with Egypt, May 18, 2014.
Zarzis, Tunisia - 03/2011. Migrants getting ready to board the boat to reach Italy from the coast of Tunisia.
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Kingsley, carnet de route d'un immigrant clandestin.
Kingsley, carnet de route d'un immigrant clandestin.
Kingsley, carnet de route d'un immigrant clandestin.
Italian navy rescues asylum seekers traveling by boat off the coast of Africa on the Mediterranean, June 7, 2014.
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mediterranean-crisis-alessandro-penso
Sub-Saharan migrants scale a metallic fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on May 28, 2014.
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Afghan refugees, Kabir and Zaher, sit by a fire in Subotica, Serbia on Nov. 10, 2012. Zaher, who lost his left leg below the knees, made it to Serbia on crutches. Zaher says he is 16 and Kabir 15. The two were traveling together from Greece. The men they lived outdoors in Subotica, waiting for smugglers to give the green light to continue their journey.
mediterranean-crisis-alessandro-penso
mediterranean-crisis-alessandro-penso
mediterranean-crisis-alessandro-penso
Nawras Soukhta, a 15-year-old from Damascus, sits in the train traveling from Stockholm to Malmö, Sweden, a few hours after his plane lands in Sweden. After 11 days sailing to Italy from Turkey, and another week traveling through Italy, the train ride to Malmö is the final leg of a three-week journey he has made in the hopes of applying for asylum in Sweden.
Mansour, an immigrant from Mali waits a friend in downtown Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria on Dec. 7, 2014. He is in a shelter in south-western part of the city.
A pair of trousers lie on the seabed near the shipwreck of the 66-foot-long fishing boat that sank off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa lies at a depth of 164 ft. on the seabed, on Sept. 22, 2014. The tragedy that happened a year ago on Oct. 3, 2013 killed 366 migrants from North Africa.
Refugees from Libya rest in Ras Ajdir, a coastal town on the border between Libya and Tunisia in March, 2011.
Davide Monteleone—VII
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