In an effort to aid the thousands of refugees escaping from violent conflict and extremism, particularly in Syria, a team of students in the global business and digital arts program at UW has taken the initiative to begin the One Home campaign. Through events such as Create Your Own Button held Nov. 20 and 23 and the gingerbread house competition that took place Nov. 27 and Dec. 1, they hope to initiate conversation about the crisis and to help the refugees through raising funds to provide them with clean water, food, health care, and shelter. </p>
“Basically what we hope to achieve throughout this campaign is to raise awareness and be able to provide aid and support to Syrian refugees in need, in Syria and in surrounding countries, as well as through the national refugee committee,” said Laura Seyers, the marketing lead for One Home.
“One of the current campaigns and initiatives are successful and doing great, but they don’t really target our university demographic, so we took this opportunity to target them as best as we could and really raise awareness within our community specifically.”
Currently, 12 million Syrians have fled, half of which are children, to surrounding countries — Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan — according to a World Vision article. These countries are becoming overcrowded with refugees, and many have taken the long and dangerous journey to Europe on foot, hoping to seek shelter and basic necessities.
“It’s difficult in the first place for these refugees to be coming from a very tumultuous country, and at the end of the day they’re still people and they deserve to be living in … a hospitable environment, and if we [with the One Home campaign] can have any sort of contribution to creating that for them, then we would all be much better off,” said Seyers.
Currently, Canada has planned to accept 25,000 refugees; however, the government has recently set a new screening process which will make this transition much longer than they planned.
“I think that comes with the misconception that all individuals that are associated with terrorism are refugees, specifically Syrian refugees,” said Seyers. “When they’re faced with not having any food, water, or somewhere to sleep at the end of the day, and someone comes up to you and offers you good meals, an income, [and] shelter for your family, it becomes a lot more enticing. Not to say that it’s the right choice to be made, but these choices are made because they think that they’ve got no other option in terms of survival. If we [focus on] that from the get-go and provide them with the necessities that at times they search or ask for then maybe we wouldn’t have a lot of these larger projected problems.”
Nonetheless, One Home strives to make a difference for these refugees and hopes to get other students involved as well.
“We encourage any sort of support, whether that just be through conversation or whether that be monetary…. We just want to start a conversation with the people in our community and [with] our peers … and hopefully this [campaign will bring] a more positive vibe to those conversations with the refugees [that] are coming to the KW, Stratford, and Ontario area in the next few months.”