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September 02, 2022

Meet 3 refugees who are giving back through volunteer work

From delivering groceries to helping improve environmental sustainability, these refugees and resettled refugees aren’t just integrating into their new communities, they’re actively giving back to the people around them. Meet three people who are compassionately helping others through volunteerism.


Mustafa volunteering delivering groceries

Mustafa, a resettled refugee from Somalia who now lives in Lancaster, PA, took to social media at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to rally his community to help their vulnerable neighbors. With the help of a couple of friends, Mustafa organized grocery deliveries for local families who were unable to go to the grocery store themselves during the pandemic. “I have seen the community already rally around each other so I am confident that more people will be helping,” he shares.

But Mustafa was giving back to his community long before the pandemic began. His organization, Bridge, helps resettled refugees connect with their neighbors over shared meals hosted by the resettled refugees themselves.



The first time Basma, a resettled refugee from Iraq, gained the right to vote as a citizen of the United States, it was more than just a voting experience for her — she helped activate a group of people to vote that day

“We mobilized volunteer drivers to take new voters and community members to vote,” Basma explains. “We had a party where we had cultural events and we did henna and many amazing things, because we wanted people to participate.” 

In the end Basma didn’t just do her civic duty that day by voting, she inspired others to vote as well and got them excited about civic action.


Samiya, environmental sustainablity volunteer

Samiya, a 14-year-old Rohingya refugee, is a youth environmental sustainability volunteer in Kutupalong refugee camp. She and other volunteers work together to educate their communities about the importance of preserving wildlife, waste management and developing sustainable solutions for farming. 

But Samiya’s not the only Rohingya refugee who volunteers their time. Thousands of Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps take part in volunteer programs to help others in their refugee community. Rohingya volunteers do everything from improving community health to protecting people from fires, and even joining Elephant Response Teams that help guide elephant stampedes away from the camps.

Despite facing difficult pasts and undertaking dangerous journeys, when refugees come to a new country, they become active members of their new communities — building homes, advancing their careers and even volunteering to help others. This International Day of Charity, we look to them as stellar examples of what it means to be part of a community and to look out for one another.