“How far would you walk at night for fear of violence?” This is the question which inspired the “Night of the Refugee:” a night-time walk with the purpose of raising money to support refugees’ access to basic necessities.
In 2016, over 9,000 people were granted refugee status in the Netherlands. And, although we often think of recent refugees as coming from Syria, thousands more are also arriving from Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. Their experiences during the application period, as well as the process of settling into their new lives, can get complicated, so it is crucial that there are emergency funds available to ensure that they can access medical care, food, water, and shelter at all times. The Night of the Refugee will fundraise for these necessary costs on June 16th this year, and we are happy to be joining in on their efforts by walking as Team Pisswife.
Living in Amsterdam, many of us have studied or worked with refugees over the past few years. Such real-life interactions counteract the oversimplified narratives the media provides, and it is touching to see how much this can encourage people to help. Before I moved to Amsterdam from the United States, I had an overly pessimistic perspective on the refugee crisis in Western Europe. It seemed like Islamophobia and economic fears were so rampant that refugees were primarily viewed with hostility in countries like the Netherlands. So, when I taught an English class for Syrian refugees last spring, I was initially surprised to learn that many of my students had made very close Dutch friends and had fantastic experiences being hosted by Dutch families. The more I talked to my students, the more I learned that many Dutch people were not just accepting of refugees, but proactively welcomed them. I felt optimistic again, even though hostility and unacceptance unfortunately remain present. The Night of the Refugee is a fantastic opportunity to publicly celebrate the people of Amsterdam’s acceptance and proactive support for its refugee population and to fight against negative prejudices. This is an important message for the world (and especially refugees) to hear.
For this cause, we need your proactivity too. At this link, you can donate through our Pisswife team to the Netherlands Refugee Foundation, which will be using the funds to provide medical care, food, water, and shelter to refugees. Celebrate the acceptance, and support the refugees in your community!
Text: Ella MacLaughlin
Drawing: Saïda Ragas