Packing up to go and volunteer in a refugee camp can be one of the most interesting things you can do in this world. Many people have the notion that volunteering in a refugee camp comes with some risks. While this could be true, it is not always as some people exaggerate it to be. Preparing to go and volunteer in refugee camps can be daunting in some ways, but the experiences you get there are great and memorable. With empathy and a big heart for the less fortunate, you can make a huge difference in the lives of people who had nothing to live for. If you are planning to go and volunteer in a refugee camp, it’s good to know the following:
Being observant and making quick plans is crucial
Once you get into the refugee camp of your choice, spend some time to observe the situation there. Get to know whether the systems in place are effective or if you could do something to make them effective. If you want to know more about the situation on the ground, ask more than two refugees about it. Some refugees are well-conversant about the situation in the refugee camps than others. Once you observe and get the answers you need, take the shortest time possible to plan and do something. See more at Involvement Volunteers International
Smile and maintain eye contact
Most refugees are highly expectant whenever a volunteer comes to their camp. Some of them won’t talk but they would just look at you straight in the eye expecting you to provide help of any kind. For this reason, it’s important for any volunteer teaching any subject to exude warmth and confidence. With a smile on your face, greet the refugees and ask them if they are fine. Some female refugees look sad and at times cry whenever they find caring volunteers visit them. You shouldn’t cry back, but rather encourage and strengthen them while smiling for them to smile back.
Control anger and avoid aggression
Sometimes, it’s hard to control a group of refugees who are shouting and screaming. The more you try to calm them down, the more they may shout and frustrate you. It may not mean that such refugees had intentions to frustrate you, but that they could have been overjoyed. Once you express rage, frustration or anger, it becomes hard to control the refugees and they may, in turn, be frustrated with you. Being calm and peaceful is an important tool especially if you want the refugees to listen to you when teaching English.
Be willing to lend your arm always
While you may do what the refugees have asked you to do for them, you still can help them in other ways they hadn’t thought about. Carry a big waist bag full of rehydration salts, non-prescription medicines, cereal bars, kid’s balloons, socks, hats, several pairs of gloves and women’s underwear among others. Always avoid the “No” language in the refugee camps when asked to do something extra, and instead use the “please wait” tone.
Most of the people you find in these camps are needy and they may not have the courtesy you are used to or expect. You would have to be humble enough and avoid being agitated by some of the characters, behaviors, and things you may not like there. If you are going with other volunteer teachers in the same camp, it’s always good to look into these aspects together to ensure you would all flow in the same spirit for a common goal. Click here for more information https://www.volunteering.org.au/volunteer-abroad/refugee-camps/