Refugee Week: 7 ways you can get involved and support refugees

Published 19th June 2020

During Refugee Week 2020 (June 15-21), we invite you to support refugees and our work in seven simple ways. These can all be done from the comfort of your home and are inspired by this year’s theme ‘Imagine’.

This year, Refugee Week comes amid a global pandemic, which has put health at the forefront of people’s minds. This week is the perfect opportunity to not only celebrate refugees’ contributions and resilience, but also to call for their protection and universal access to healthcare.

By following these seven simple steps you can join us in imagining a better world for refugees.

1. See the world through a refugee’s eyes 

Can you imagine being forced to flee your home country because of war, conflict or persecution? 

Living in a place like the UK, it’s hard to picture yourself in this situation but not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy the safety and security this country offers.

Emmanuel Serrano is a Venezuelan refugee and policy and advocacy officer at Doctors of the World.

Doctors of the World policy and advocacy officer, Emmanuel Serrano, is one such person.

He has opened up about his experience leaving his home country Venezuela, where political turmoil and socio-economic instability have created one of the world’s biggest recent displacement crises.

Read and share Emmanuel’s story to promote understanding of why people seek sanctuary. 

2. Share our translated COVID-19 resources 

Did you know refugee and migrant communities have difficulty accessing COVID-19 guidance and key public health messages due to language barriers? 

We stepped in for these excluded groups, alongside the British Red Cross and several other partners, translating NHS guidance on coronavirus into 60 languages. 

Share now and save lives.

3. Find out if your GP is a safe surgery 

Everyone in England is entitled to basic primary healthcare, but many of our patients, including refugees, are wrongly refused GP registration.

As well as helping patients to register with a GP, we support NHS doctors, nurses and administrators to provide quality healthcare to all their patients.

Through our Safe Surgeries initiative, we provide practical resources and a professional training programme for NHS clinical staff.

Over 300 GP practices have committed to being safe surgeries.

Safe surgeries don’t refuse to register patients because they don’t have proof of address or identification – in accordance with NHS guidelines. They also never ask to see a visa or proof of immigration status.

So far, 341 practices across the UK have committed to being safe surgeries – is your GP one of them?

By following these seven steps, primary care staff can ensure that everybody can access healthcare when they need it.  

4. Ask the experts

On Thursday, we hosted a Twitter Q&A with the three public health doctors who co-wrote our report: “An unsafe distance: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on excluded people in England”

Catch up on the discussion about how refugees have been affected by COVID-19 and find out what you can do to help.

Got a question about our work or research? Our expert panel is happy to answer it.

Just comment on the thread and they will respond as soon as possible.

5. Buy a print for refugees 

Looking for the perfect print to brighten your home during lockdown? We’ve got you covered! 

Prints for Refugees offers a range of art prints generously donated by professional photographers, with all proceeds going to Doctors of the World.

Universal Experience I by Catherine Hyland

These donations could support our advice line, outreach team or remote GP consultations during COVID-19.

Help us to continue providing support for not only refugees but undocumented migrants, people experiencing homelessness and other excluded communities.

During Refugee Week, all prints are available with 10 per cent off.

To get your professional art print at a reduced price use the code “RW2020” at the checkout. This offer ends at midnight on Sunday.

Shop now.

6. Campaign for change

There are many ways we could make refugees feel more welcome in the UK and you can play a key role in bringing about that change.

Migrants and asylum seekers with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) have been plunged into further poverty and destitution as COVID-19 and the accompanying control measures lead to job losses and create additional financial pressures.

We have joined over 40 migrants’ rights organisations in calling for the NRPF to be scrapped.  

Read and share our joint letter:

7. Sponsor a doctor 

If you can, please consider supporting our work with refugees.

One of the ways you can do this is by sponsoring a doctor.

Your monthly gift with help us to recruit and train new staff and volunteers, who in turn will help the most vulnerable access healthcare.

As little as £8 a month could provide essential vaccines, drugs and medical equipment for our doctors to use.

Meet some of the medical staff and interpreters you will be supporting.

For more ideas and inspiration, including upcoming events, visit the Refugee Week website.


With your support, Doctors of the World will make sure nobody suffers or dies due to lack of access to healthcare.