How Students Can Help Refugees at Camp Atterbury


Top 3 Ways Students Can Help Refugees at Camp Atterbury

It’s almost a defining feature of Generation Z: an all-consuming tumult of horrible news. A climate change induced disaster, a humanitarian crisis, the outbreak of war. Too many times, it seems like there isn’t much we, as teenagers, can do to help.
In this instance, however, there are plenty of accessible ways to help the Afghan refugee community at Camp Atterbury, whether by donating items or just raising awareness. In a situation where thousands of men, women, and children have been forced to leave behind everything they knew, every bit helps.

Donate clothes and hygiene products.
What about that cute shirt you got that turned out to be just a little too small? It may be a nuisance taking up space in your closet, but it could be a necessity for a person in need. New clothes with tags are just one of many items needed. A donation of just $20 worth of hygiene products could make all the difference. Here’s a short list of some of the top needs:
New or gently used clothes, especially for children
Shoes, hats, and underwear
Toys and baby care items
Phone chargers and cords
Qurans and prayer rugs
Personal hygiene items like soap, shampoo, deodorant, brushes, masks, and pads

Donate money to organizations that work with refugees.
Several amazing organizations exist to help refugees on every step of their journey, from meeting basic needs in camps to aid finding employment. There are so many deserving charities out there, but here’s a short list:
Team Rubicon: a veteran-run disaster response organization that has taken charge of managing logistics of donations, including those listed above.
Exodus Refugee Immigration: an Indiana-based nonprofit that will help the evacuees with resettlement when they Camp Atterbury. They provide language classes, healthcare, and school supplies, among other things.
The UN Refugee Agency: a global organization providing emergency support services to internally displaced persons in Afghanistan. These are people within the country that have been forced to flee their homes.

Become an advocate.
If you don’t have the resources to donate, don’t worry! Educating others and bringing about understanding is crucial, and it’s free. All it takes is a willingness to learn and share with others. Here are a few great ideas to do so:
Learn about the situation. Learning the complex sequence of events that led to this crisis will give you the context needed to understand it and to help answer others’ questions.
Write to your representatives. Even if you aren’t yet old enough to vote, you can make your voice heard, whether it’s on the local or state level. Urge them to allocate resources and create programs to help refugees, both inside and beyond Camp Atterbury.
Call out hate. Unfortunately, prejudice is often a factor when it comes to refugees. Helping debunk harmful misconceptions will create a more welcoming environment. It can be helpful to remind insensitive people that the refugees are just people like us seeking to escape the Taliban’s reign of terror.