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What can you do to make a difference?

Listed below are some projects you can do within your school and community to increase awareness of refugee and immigrant issues. Please note that the B.I.A.S. Project (Building Immigrant Awareness and Support) of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights has many resources to help you put some of these ideas into action. We have studies, articles, and books in our files that discuss immigrant- and refugee-related issues. We also have speakers available to speak on these issues to school and community groups. For more information, please call (612) 341-3302.

1. Write articles for your school or community paper. Article ideas include the following:

  • profiling a local refugee or immigrant
  • featuring a specific refugee or immigrant crisis
  • writing a "letter to the editor" stating your opinion on current immigration issues

2. Advocacy work

  • send letters to or call your legislators regarding current immigration issues

3. Reach out to refugees or immigrants in your local area

  • volunteer at a local agency that works with refugee and immigrant populations
  • tutor local refugees and immigrants
  • develop a peer network with refugees and immigrants
  • invite immigrants and refugees to teach about their country of origin and culture
  • host a community-wide multi-cultural event, featuring international foods and music
  • host an "English conversation group" to assist new refugees and immigrants with their developing English language skills
  • request a local immigrant or refugee to teach you his or her native language
  • set up a county fair exhibit or booth dealing with refugee and immigrant topics
  • be a mentor to a person who is attempting to gain citizenship
  • prepare "welcome baskets" for new families of refugees and immigrants
  • speak on refugee or immigration issues to local school, community, or church groups--and in conjunction with your presentation, ask a local immigrant or refugee to share his or her personal story

4. Increase awareness of refugee and immigrant issues at school. Ideas include:

  • hosting a "multi-cultural day" featuring international foods and music from around the world
  • inviting a speaker to speak on refugee and immigrant issues. Speakers could include:
    • a local immigrant or refugee--possibly a panel featuring several newcomers

    • someone who works with refugees and immigrants locally

    • someone who has done refugee work in another country
  • organizing a school workshop on refugee and immigrant issues, featuring role-playing and other educational activities that deal with immigration issues

5. Form a refugee/immigrant club within your school or neighborhood with others interested in these issues. Club activities could include:

  • discussing refugee and immigrant issues at regularly-held meetings
  • discussing films and books that deal with refugee and immigrant issues
  • hosting various events to raise awareness of refugee and immigrant issues
  • hosting a fundraiser (for example, a benefit concert) to raise money for local groups sponsoring refugee families

6. "The international connection": helping refugees and immigrants around the world

  • begin a pen pal program with refugees in a refugee camp overseas
  • initiate international contacts to develop "classroom to classroom" communication with immigrants and refugees via the Internet
  • raise money for humanitarian organizations ( like UNHCR or UNICEF) that work with refugee and immigrant populations


For more information, contact

Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights
310 Fourth Avenue South Suite 1000
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1012.
Tel: 612-341-3302, Fax: 612-341-2971

E-mail: [email protected]