How many times have we heard - or even uttered - these words when we encounter news or stories about human suffering. Do they seem too distant, too far away? But we all know a father. A daughter. A friend. A teacher. A neighbour. People we spent our time with. Can we imagine being separated from them - be it through physical or imagined boundaries of nationality, language, ethnicity, class or culture?
Now, picture those at the edge: families torn apart because of border walls; an engineer who cannot find a job in a host country because of his legal status; individuals who lived in fear of their neighbours’ hate and prejudice, never feeling at home wherever they are; children losing their lives at sea in pursuit of safety. These are realities that persons labelled as “refugees” encounter. But “it doesn’t affect me, why should I bother?”
As of 2019, an estimated 71 million people have been forcibly displaced globally. Maybe we think that they belong to another country’s problems. But do borders limit our understanding of human rights or humanity: should one not be bothered by another’s plight because she/he is not one’s kin or fellow citizen?
Why do we bother with borders? Not everyone suffers from the injustice of borders. Are you bothered by borders?
At RAW 2020, we contemplated the following questions: Why bother? #Whyborder?
We kickstart this segment to center voices of people with lived experiences of being refugees/asylum-seekers, on what border means to them. This is important since Singapore does not host refugees and there are very limited opportunities for Singaporeans to hear from those most affected by borders.
AFR-SG’s volunteer, Toh Ee Ming, speaks to Robin Bush, a former country representative of Asia Foundation in Indonesia and currently an adjunct Faculty Member at Singapore Management University, on refugees in Indonesia, state policy toward refugees, humanitarianism and how refugees (can) play a significant role...
The struggles of refugees, displaced communities and marginalised groups of society has always resonated with Naz and Nad, the sister duo behind social enterprise Beadlebug. The sisters make ethnic-inspired jewellery, centred on an appreciation for mother earth’s natural elements and their quest for social justice.
Mdm Soraya, Founder and Executive Director at Cahaya Surya Bakti (CSB) sends her appreciation and a quick update to all who have supported RAW 2020.
In 21 days, we have raised S$5,371.84 in support of CSB's programmes in Johor. Thank you for showing that you care!
For inquiries about CSB, please email to email@example.com
"I donated because others are living a life of oppression while we live in a life full of privileges. There's injustices happening around the world, we can't remain silent and do nothing."
FJ, Donor of 'Kindness Across Borders' for Cahaya Surya Bakti
"[...] I don't think Abeer [right in picture] had told her story to an Asian audience before; we were touched with the empathy and quality of questions. A great effort in community building and raising awareness. Thank you!"
Sandeep Ray, Filmmaker & Panelist
"Fardin [...] feels that inaction towards the situation makes one complicit and hence urges youths from all ethnicities across the country to be involved in the non-violent conversation. This urges and motivates youth from all ethnicities and gender to bring change to the country by investing in education, renewable energy projects, permaculture among others. Fardin reminded me that one can have a giving attitude and believe in our agency to make change despite our economic circumstances."
Abhishek, Facilitator of Connect N' Chai
“[The event provided] useful insights on how race, religion and language can affect our decisions and worldview, but also can be a force for good to challenge our own belief systems to see beyond our own 'walls' to support people and communities that may not share the same beliefs... Each and everyone of us can make a difference through various ways to help raise awareness by having such conversations with those around us to shift mindsets and take practical actions such as volunteering our time and through financial support.”
Attendee of Panel Discussion "Regardless of Race, Language or Religion"
Film Screening Abeer Yaseen Sandeep Ray Nicole Tay Arif Nurhakim
Connect N’ Chai Dr Hakim Young Ali Fardin Inaam Abhishek Bajaj
Panel Discussion Ivan Kwek Adrian Teo Beh Keng Hua Imran Taib Andrew Cheong Sangeetha Yogendran Mathilda Ho Nursyazwani Sovereigna Lakhotia
Voices Saleh Sapas Hasnah Hussin Darius Naima Ismail Sonia Ahmadi
Special thanks to Dr Robin Bush SUTD HASS Open Jio Project Xing Fu
Campaign Merchandise Farzanah Friday Samuel Chan
Designers Malvina Ho Tan Sin Hui
Fundraising Retna Devi
Wordsmiths & Social Media Beth Lee Peh Shun Phyllis Ng Russell Lim Shanisse Goh Toh Ee Ming Xiao You Mok Xiaodan Chen Ziyi Wang
Team Leads Fazila Banu Sovereigna Lakhotia
Co-Directors Nursyazwani Mathilda Ho
Cahaya Surya Bakti (CSB) is a registered Malaysian Society founded with the vision of providing community-based support and assistance to the refugee population in the state of Johor, Malaysia.
Since 2013, CSB has successfully established 3 schools for refugee children and teenagers located in the areas of Kempas, Kluang and Pekan Nanas. In total, CSB oversees the education of 180 students in Johor.
Beyond education, CSB also offers a variety of programs to empower and build resilience o the community. CSB and our generous supporters become that much needed safety net.
Donate to the Give Asia campaign here: give.asia/kindnesswithoutborders
Geutanyoe Foundation is a non-profit organisation registered in Malaysia and Indonesia working to assist and empower the most vulnerable and marginalised communities, including conflict- and disaster-affected communities, victims of trafficking, and persons with disabilities.
Geutanyoe means ‘All of Us’ in Acehnese and is founded on principles of dignity, inclusiveness, equality, and peace for all. Geutanyoe believes that people affected by crisis are the best placed to lead change in their own communities. In Malaysia, Geutanyoe’s work with refugees focuses on increasing access to basic services, especially health and education, developing a cultural platform for refugee artists, and cultivating refugee leadership to assist and advance protection for their communities. Geutanyoe Malaysia is involved in creating an enabling and empowering environment for the advancement of refugee rights in Malaysia.
HELP for Refugees is a learning centre for adults and children in the heart of Jakarta, Indonesia. Our name stands for Health, Education and Learning Program, which we aim to provide the refugee community under the legal entity of Yayasan HELP Indonesia. Our student and volunteer body consist of a vibrant and diverse group of people, cultivating a sense of belonging and a greater sense of purpose to people from more than 12 different nationalities who are living with great uncertainty.
Led by Moh. Baqir Bayani and other leaders from the refugee community, our team of volunteer teachers and staff include Arabic and Persian speaking refugees, as well as resident locals and expatriates who dedicate their time to support our future leaders, in language training, math, science, computers, and other transferable soft skills for life in Indonesia and abroad.
Follow HELP for Refugees on Instagram!
The Foundation for Rural Development is a registered nonprofit organization in Pakistan that has been working with people affected by various disasters and forcedly displaced population including the Afghan Refugees in Pakistan.
We stand with the campaign for awareness regarding refugees, because we have seen with our own eyes the sufferings of human being and have known the stories of people in other countries who suffered just because they have crossed an International border.
We call on the international community to respect the human right of asylum for all those people who fear persecution in their areas of origin and the stateless population. Every human being whether in country of birth or another country be provided with all the basic human rights, as we are human beings first.
GFLP seeks to transform the power of Love, which is the shared message of all religions, into action through dialogue, spiritual education, peace education, environmental protection, charity works, and activities related to the United Nations Culture of Peace.
GFLP international Non-Governmental Organization is affiliated with the United Nations Department of Public Information with an ECOSOC* special consultative status.
*ECOSOC stands for the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Parastoo Theatre is composed of refugees dedicated to creating social changes through theatre. Employing Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed”, Saleh, the founder and director of Parastoo, leads his team of actors and actresses who are not only refugees but have no prior theatre experience. They are trained in acting and are also equipped with skills to research, write, direct and produce their own theatre. Parastoo has staged a number of plays across Malaysia, such as the “Bitter Taste of History” and “Screaming in Silence” to various local and international audiences. Good working relationships between local and refugee communities have been cultivated through theatre.
To find out more about Parastoo and the good work they do, click here for their brochure.
Our Better World is the digital storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation.
We tell stories of everyday people in Asia taking action in big and small ways to make the world a better place. Why? To inspire you to take action too. We cover many causes in our stories, including diversity and inclusion, women and girls, children and youth, the elderly and education.
Find out more at ourbetterworld.org
Project Rohingya Sisu is a Singapore-based initiative that focuses on improving the lives of Rohingya children in Malaysia and Bangladesh. We aim to educate and support Rohingya children in coping with the adversities they face at refugee camps in Bangladesh as well as support Rohingya families in Johor with basic necessities.
We hope to raise awareness in Singapore about the Rohingya community's experiences.
Watch this video to find out more.
The Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation (RLAF) was set up by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) in 2005 for the Singaporean Muslim Community to create a culture of compassion and radiate blessings to the poor, to those in need and to the victims of disasters regardless of race, faith or creed, locally and globally.
The foundation also believes in the potential and capacity of the young. We strive towards nation-building and enculturing a community of care and compassion. We seek to unlock the potential within youths to build expertise and capabilities in undertaking humanitarian and community service projects.
Follow RLAF on Instagram!
Relief Singapore (RSG) is a homegrown social enterprise and NGO that provides healthcare, clean water, psychosocial support, and other forms of humanitarian assistance for those forcibly displaced and affected by conflicts, calamities and climate change.
Its mandate is to focus on humanitarian needs that are underserved and neglected. RSG’s vision is a world where there are “lasting, liveable and loving homes for everyone.” To this end, it seeks to provide aid to the most vulnerable regardless of race, religion, or political convictions.
Support the #SGAID Solidarity +66 Relief Fund (S66FR) for Urban Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Thailand here: give.asia/s66rf
United Nations Students Association (UNSA) is a student organisation in NTU that aims to spread
awareness about the sustainable developments goals (SDGs) of the UN and discuss about global issues.
UNSA is made up of three wings, Delegations Wing, Humanitarian Wing and Publications Wing.
The Humanitarian Wing aims to educate the NTU community about local issues like disadvantaged children from low-income families, the elderly community and the disabled community, as well as the refugee crisis overseas.
Since 2016/17, the Humanitarian Wing has been mobilising student volunteers and gathering resources to support refugee communities in Malaysia as part of our annual Youth Expedition Project (YEP).
Singaporean Students’ Association in Jordan (SIRAJ) was set up in 2012 as a student body organisation overlooking the welfare and wellbeing of Singaporean students studying in Jordan. We serve as a medium to foster better and closer working connections between Singapore students and organisations in Singapore as well as a central platform for communication and coordination amongst associations in Jordan.
Apart from that, we also carry out annual humanitarian projects with refugees such as SIRAJ's Winter Aid Project (SWAP) as well as SIRAJ Ramadhan Project (SRP).
Follow SIRAJ on Instagram!