Global issues, local actions: five things you can do to make change in 2019

22 January 2019

Topics: "asylum seekers" "Australian aid" "human rights"

“The last year shows that even in dark times, it is possible to defend human rights. Indeed, there is a responsibility to do so."

- Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch Executive Director


2018 was exceptionally challenging from a humanitarian perspective, yet despite this, people came together to defend human rights, protect our shared environment and help achieve safety, justice and dignity for vulnerable communities around the world.

In the ongoing fight for global justice, we all have a responsibility to take initiative in our own lives. We know that small actions lead to big changes, so we’ve put together a list of simple ways you can make a difference in 2019 – starting today!


          1 - Want a fair world? Buy Fair-Trade

Committing to supporting Fair-Trade is an easy and effective way of supporting human rights, sustainability, and community development across the world. Keep an eye out for the Fair Trade symbol in your local grocery store, or supply your clients and colleagues at your workplace with Fair Trade products.

          2 - Put yourself in their shoes

Around the world, millions of people have been forced from their homes to seek safety from conflict or disaster. They have sought refuge in neighbouring countries and further abroad, but increasingly the doors are being shut to these families in need.

You can show to refugees that we’re with them, not against them by taking part in the 2019 Ration Challenge. By eating same rations that a Syrian refugee living in Jordan receives, not only will you raise money to provide food, healthcare and shelter to refugees, you’ll also raise awareness amongst your friends, family, and community about the situation facing so many refugees around the world.

Last year, over 12,000 passionate people came together to take the challenge. And the community continues to grow. The Ration Challenge is held during Refugee Week, 17-23 June 2019. Registrations open in March – so save the date!

          3 - Demand change

This year is a big year in politics. With the Federal election just around the corner, now is the time to do your research on each different party’s commitments to aid. AidTracker is a great place to start to learn about Australian aid.

In recent years, Australia’s aid budget has been cut down to historic lows. We want Australia to be a global leader in aid, and you can build on the momentum that we have made in 2018 by joining the Campaign for Australian Aid and receiving updates on how you can take action on aid during the election year.

Your vote is the most important tool you have for making change, so use it to send message on aid!

          4 - Welcome newcomers

For new Australians, the New Year will bring a host of challenges and opportunities in their new land. You can help them feel at home by joining in with the Welcome Dinner Project, in which newly arrived migrants come together with already settled Australians over a pot-luck dinner. You can host your own welcome dinner or find a dinner near you.  

          5 - Offer a helping hand

Around Australia, there are a host of community groups working to make a more welcoming Australia. These groups have a calendar packed with events and an agenda full of actions that raise community awareness about the plight of refugees in Australia.

See how you can lend a helping hand:

Children at the Jamtoli refugee camp thank Act for Peace supporters for helping provide Women and Child Friendly Spaces, where children can draw, play, learn, and make friends.