World's Biggest Relief Package


Human rights

Aid packages

Credit: Wikimedia

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For those of us who celebrate Christmas, now is a time of great abundance. Fridges and eskies are bursting at the seams, gifts are wrapped and piled around the tree and homes are decorated.

Surrounded by friends and family, and watching kids roaring down the street on brand new bikes, you can't help but feel incredibly lucky.

If only everyone in the world could enjoy such abundance, safety and joy. While it can be easy to forget those less fortunate, particularly those living in other countries, Christmas time can be much richer and sustainable for remembering; particularly when doing something so small can make such a big difference.

Recently, Jane Turner - television's 'Kath' of Kath & Kim fame and Special Representative for the Australian United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - travelled to the Dadaab Refugee Camp located on the Kenyan-Somali border in Africa. "The conditions I found there were the worst I have ever seen," she said.

Originally designed for 90,000 refugees fleeing violence in Somalia, Dadaab is now home to almost 300,000 people, most of whom are women and children. The camp is desperately underfunded.

"With an average of 6,400 new refugees arriving each month, and no more land to build on, the camp is dangerously overcrowded. Everything from shelter, tools and utensils, to food and water, is in constant short supply," Turner said.

"Everything is difficult in Dadaab. To see it first-hand made me put my own problems squarely back in their place. The resilience of the refugees in the face of such desperation and the tirelessness of the aid workers in the field are a testament to the human spirit.

"So I come back to Australia not downcast or feeling hopeless, but grateful in the knowledge that I, along with all other Australians, have the unique opportunity to make a life-altering difference to the refugees of Dadaab. The experience of visiting Dadaab has put me back in touch with the wonderful sense we all innately share - the sense that we must always help our fellow man."

This year, the UNHCR are sending the refugees of Dadaab the World's Biggest Relief Package, a collection of emergency survival gifts donated by Australians wanting to join together to make a difference.

By donating to the Package on behalf of someone as a Christmas gift, you can side-step the Christmas conundrum of consumerism and waste, while also making someone else's life a whole lot easier.

Donations can range from $12 to buy a Jerry Can to help collect water, to $430 to set up a water distribution point with taps.