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International Day of Charity: Welcoming Refugees in Europe

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5.9.2015 - While the UN marks the International Day of Charity on the 5th of September, the refugee crisis in the world is getting out of hand. Throughout Europe, people are donating and distributing essentials such as food, clothes and hygiene products to arriving refugees. Others have offered language lessons, translation and babysitting. The hash tag "refugees welcome" keeps trending on social media.

Ten thousand Icelanders have welcomed Syrian refugees into their homes, as part of a Facebook campaign launched after the government announced it would only let in 50 humanitarian refugees from Syria. In Finland, pensioners are knitting warm clothes for the refugee children and volunteers are putting together «maternity boxes» which contain all necessary baby supplies for women with little kids.

71137In Munich, Germany, people have been so eager to help, that this week the police had to ask the public to stop bringing donations for arriving refugees because it simply became too much. «The donations at hand will be sufficient for the refugees present and arriving today» the local police wrote on Twitter.

After the horrible incident where the bodies of 71 people were found in an abandoned truck in Austria, 20.000 people took to the streets of Vienna to demonstrate against the way refugees are currently being treated by the authorities. In Britain another pro-refugee rally is planned in central London for September 12. The organizers of the protest want to ensure that refugees can reach Europe safely, so that they don’t have to risk their lives trying to cross the British channel from Calais, France.

"At a time when the need for humanitarian assistance has never been higher and when there are more refugees and displaced people than at any time since the end of the Second World War, charities play an increasingly vital role in meeting human need" says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement for the International Day of Charity.

The International Day of Charity coincides with the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work to overcome poverty. Upon receiving the prize, she donated the money that came with it to some of the poorest people in India.


Related Links:

• UN Observances: International Charity Day
• UNRIC News: FNs høykommissær for flyktninger (UNHCR) ønsker Calais-avtale velkommen
• Facebook Site: Solidarity with Refugees


Photo Credits:

• Cover: Mère Thérèse, painted portrait DDC_8537_1, courtesy of Organ Museum ©2013
• Second: Portrait of Mother Teresa during a visit to UN Headquarters in 1995. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

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