Web Culture

Here’s How You Can Help Refugees Online [Who Won The Internet This Week?]

Mihir Patkar 05-09-2015

This week, the spotlight turned to non-profit organization Refugees Welcome and their excellent work in matching home-owners with displaced refugees across the world. Meanwhile, one of the Kardashian-Jenner clan started an anti-bullying campaign, and a couple reminded everyone that divorce isn’t the end of the world and the kids matter more.


It seems like the Internet is full of bad news. But like the real world itself, that’s half the story. We humans have a tendency to focus on negativity and tragedies. Instead, Who Won The Internet This Week shines a light on the good times, the heroes, the people who are making a digital splash with a smile.

Refugees Welcome: An Airbnb for Asylum Seekers

The biggest news of the week has been the focus on the crisis in Syria, especially after the images of a drowned boy went viral on Twitter. As it turned out, the boy’s family was trying to seek refuge in Canada. The plight of Syria’s fleeing masses caught everyone’s attention, and the focus turned to Refugees Welcome.

The initiative, described by NPR as an Airbnb for Asylum Seekers, helps German residents share their home with refugees from other countries, saving them from the trauma of refugee camps.

Co-founder Mareike Geiling puts it perfectly: “We don’t like the idea of putting these people into one place where many, many people live.”


Here’s how it works: If you are someone with room in your house for a refugee, you sign up on Refugees Welcome. The service then contacts a refugee in your city (there are organizations which keep details of this) and puts the two of you in touch. Here’s the best part: Refugees Welcome will help you in figuring out additional expenses through initiatives like crowdfunding 5 Crowdfunding Sites Where You Can Raise Money For Your Next Book If you're looking to write a book – either fiction or non-fiction – there are various routes you can take for initial funding. One of these routes is to harness the power of the crowd. Read More .

Yes, there are still some of the inherent risks of Airbnb The Risks and Rewards of Renting Out Your Apartment on Airbnb Are you thinking about renting your spare rooms out on Airbnb? Here's why you should, and also why you might think twice. Read More in this, but the organization works on good faith and public disclosures, so you are less likely to get cheated.

While primarily a German initiative, the Syrian crisis has opened up the reach of Refugees Welcome to other countries, and the organization is actively helping people and institutions around the world set up Refugees Welcome partners.

If you would like to know which countries are supported currently, or help set up Refugees Welcome in your country, check out this form.


If you would like to contribute to Refugees Welcome, you can do so here.

Other Ways to Help Refugees

Refugees Welcome is the one winning the Internet, but it’s not the only organization active in helping refugees right now. Mashable put together a guide on how you can help in Europe’s refugee crisis, which lists other avenues for monetary donations, volunteering options, and ways to educate and spread awareness. Instead of using apps and websites for charity 7 Apps and Websites to Help You Give Money to Charity Give more money to charity and become a more engaged human citizen by using these 7 apps and websites. Read More during the upcoming holidays, this might be a better way to give to others.


Similarly, The Guardian has another guide on how you can help in the refugee crisis. Among its many suggestions, it also suggests useful hashtag activism Hashtag Activism: #powerful or #pointless? #BringBackOurGirls, #ICantBreathe, and #BlackLivesMatter have seen wide international coverage in the past year – but are hashtags an effective means of activism? Read More by banding under two hashtags that encourage employers to give refugees and migrants jobs and share such stories. The hashtags are #MigrantsContribute [Broken URL Removed] and our Internet-winning #RefugeesWelcome.

Almost Winning The Internet This Week…

The Internet is far too vast for one phenomenon to dominate everyone’s conversations. While the Refugees Welcome team got most of the buzz, and deservedly so, there were others doing their bit to win the Internet.

Kylie Jenner’s Anti-Bullying #Iammorethan

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#Day 3 – Jacob (@Jacob_Lescenskii) and Anthony (@AnthonySexC) are best friends and have been for 2 ½ years. Anthony came out to Jacob early on in their friendship. “It was very casual,” Anthony said when I asked if he remembered coming out to Jacob. “The most important thing I remember was how loving and accepting Jacob made me feel.” When it came time for their junior year, both Jacob and Anthony were so excited to go to prom until things starting going wrong in their personal life. “My girlfriend and I had just broken up,” Jacob mentioned and he was just going to go with friends until he saw Anthony’s tweets. “I realized that helping him with something that would make him happy would also make me happy… and it would probably be the best way to go to prom.” @TeenVogue even helped them find the perfect outfit by sending them to @TopMan to find suits. They had the best time at the prom and have inspired not only their community but the world. They even appeared on the @TheEllenShow ! The most important thing they want people to know and remember is that “YOU matter and people care about YOU. People don’t remember word for word what you said or how you dressed or how you looked but people will remember how you feel.” I'm obsessed with these boys and had such a great time talking to them. We need more people like them in the world! Check out Jacob and Anthony’s instagrams @Jacob_Lescenskii and @AnthonySexC – they’re leading a revolution by showing us all that #IAmMoreThan my sexuality. They taught ME that #IAmMoreThan the critics. Also… @kamideike and Jordan Ruiz!!!! Will you please go to homecoming with @jacob_lescenskii and @AnthonySexC? ??

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Kylie Jenner, one of the 10 most followed Instagram accounts The 10 Most Followed People on Instagram: Should You Follow Them Too? This is not our top 10 of Instagram. It's actually the top 10 accounts based entirely on the number of followers each one of them has. Do they merit the hype? Should you follow them... Read More , used the power of her social network to start an anti-bullying campaign with the hashtag #Iammorethan. In a week-long series, Jenner is sharing one story every day about someone who was the victim of bulllying, and encouraging others like them to speak up and get help. Here’s day 1 and day 2, and you can check out day 3’s entry above.


If this message speaks to you, we previously covered helpful resources if your child is being bullied "My Child Is Being Bullied" - Check out These 7 Helpful Resources Bullying of any kind can be combated by awareness, education, and positive action. This article covers several resources that we hope will help. Read More .



At a time when several couples are probably going through a rough time because of the Ashley Madison hack 3 Reasons Why The Ashley Madison Hack Is A Serious Affair The Internet seems ecstatic about the Ashley Madison hack, with millions of adulterers' and potential adulterers' details hacked and released online, with articles outing individuals found in the data dump. Hilarious, right? Not so fast. Read More , it’s kind of nice to be reminded that a divorce isn’t the end of the world. A simple selfie and message [Broken URL Removed] from Shannon and Chris Neuman, a couple who got divorced, went viral over the web.

“Are we smiling because the partner we chose for forever turned out not to be the forever partner we needed? Of course not. We’re smiling because we have done something extraordinary (we think anyway!) We have respectfully, thoughtfully and honourably ended our marriage in a way that will allow us to go forward as parenting partners for our children, the perfect reason that this always WAS meant to be, so they will never have to choose,” Shannon wrote on her Facebook wall, tagging it with #DivorceSelfie.

Soon, the Internet was ready to share their images with #DivorceSelfie, leading to stories of exes who have happy, caring relationships post marriage, as well as children who recounted their experiences growing up in such environments.

Who Do You Think Won The Internet?

Again, the web is far, far too large a place to cover every single uplifting story. In the past week, what did you read or see that made you feel good? Who do you think won the Internet?

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