The words we choose can change an entire narrative just like that. But when we look for the words that carry the truth, they can inspire us into an action that goes beyond humanity.
We have all seen that picture. Of the little boy. On the beach. Face down. His little bare arms and legs swollen from salt water. Waves of Oceanus’ tears caressing his body.
Those waves had brought him to us like a seashell. But then not. Because you can’t pick him up and hold him up to your ear and hear what he has to say anymore.
That boy, he still had his shoes on. They were sturdy shoes. He was prepared to walk for a long, long time. He was not prepared to swim.
You probably felt it, too. The waves of tears and emotion that overpower you when confronted by that image.
A realisation that this overpowering well and swell of feelings we would rather not have, these kinds of waves are nothing compared to the waves that took his life.
The waves of fear. The waves of helplessness. The waves of utter despair. Even the waves of hope his parents must have felt when putting him on that boat, that beyond the vast and all-powerful sea there might actually be life. Because to stay behind was no life at all.
You see, these are not migrants. “Refugees” does not even do them justice. They are not refuse. These people are heroes. Even now, that boy is a hero.
And in his journey, in his painful, tragic, and confrontational story, is a chance for us to step up as heroes ourselves.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
– Joseph Campbell
So how can we take the narrative – a tragedy that has been going on for four years and continues to go on as you read this – and turn it into an epic story of simple human beings transforming into heroes?
It starts with us.
We begin by stepping up to the call.
The first step is to listen to the stories.
The next step is to see which part of the stories speak to us the most, the ones that compell us to change the narrative.
And then the third step is to take those very actions that WILL change the narratives.
In doing so, we become heroes ourselves, carrying this boy’s story forward until we have created the journey he was meant to take, for the others who still must take it. We manifest a great change in a collective narrative.
We gift these human beings by embracing them as heroes and so we receive them as heroes.
What you can do.
I have just started on my journey in stepping up to the call, but here is some of the information I have collected:
- Get the story. Learn the history behind the Syrian war as well as the stories of those who are living through and fleeing from it. A few places to start:
- Decide what immediate actions you can take right now. Here are a few articles that can help you decide what you can do right now to make a difference.
- MOAS (the Migrant Offshore Aid Station) is a registered Foundation based in Malta. It is dedicated to preventing loss of life at sea by providing assistance to migrants who find themselves in distress while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in unsafe vessels. You can donate directly to them through their site.
- Five practical ways you can help refugees trying to find safety in Europe (UK-focussed)
- Contact your local EU parliament members and demand action for properly receiving and respectful treatment of these survivors.
- Ask your Facebook friends if they know of any local initiatives. There are many local drives popping up with Facebook pages giving information about where you can donate clothing, supplies, food and more to be shipped directly to the stations in Greece, Calais and more where the survivors are arriving.
- Local Dutch Facebook drive initiatives that I am aware of are:
- Dutch Parcels for Refugees – provides a packing list and very clear directions for what to pack, how to pack it and how to send it. They will go to those who have landed on Lesbos and will be distributed through the organisation “Help for refugees in Molyvos”. Many shipments in areas such as Calais mainly need men’s items; this particular one needs women and children’s clothes.
- Bag to the Future – a drop off for rucksacks filled with games, toys, food and necessities for children, labelled with appropriate age.
- Doneer je deken (Donate your blanket)
- Calais Refugee support – raising funds to personally send supplies over to Calais.
What I am doing.
I have already signed several petitions for fair treatment of these survivors. I have donated funds to MOAS and War Child Holland. I am collecting a backpack of children’s items that I will be dropping off. I will be convincing my husband to donate our tent. I am creating threads in various Facebook groups I belong to in order to publish information to inspire others to take action.
However, this month is different. For this entire month, those 5% donations will be going towards War Child Holland.
War Child Holland is a non-profit that empowers children and young people from conflict and post-conflict zones by providing “psycho-social” programs that involve creative arts, theater, sport and play, to allow children to release their stories and experience childhood the way they were meant to.
War Child Holland is active in Lebanon, where they receive the children who have escaped the Syrian war and provide them with the things children need. Things that go beyond beds and food. They provide them with a childhood again. A chance to heal by being children again – playing, sports, art, theater, song.
And they provide them with a safe space to tell their stories in a way that allows them to become the heroes of their own lives.
Have you been considering booking a 1-2 hours session with me or a 4-hour VIP day? Now’s the time.
My fall rates have just been activated, but I will personally donate the difference from my summer rates to War Child and show you the receipt. That is a 5% donation right there. Plus the 5% of my profits at the end of the month.
Alternatively, if you show me a donation receipt to a charity or aid organisation aiding these survivors from Syria, I will deduct that amount from any new single session or VIP booking at the fall prices, up to 5% of the current rate.
These laser-focussed sessions are powerful ways to get down to the essence of your authentic voice, message and story. They can be used for finding a business name, working through an About page, honing your mission and vision, creating an effective and inspiring editorial plan and so much more.
UPDATE: I have now decided to include ALL PROGRAMS for this month. That means that if you book ANY LITTLE BIG MOUTH PROGRAM for this month, I will donate the difference in the fall and summer rates to War Child Holland, or deduct the amount of your own donation to a charity of your choice up to difference in rates.
Book a free call with me to arrange a session: www.littlebigmouth.net/free-call.
But whatever you do, let those waves of compassion inspire you to take action today to change this narrative into a beautiful, heroic tale.
Have you already been taking action? Inspired to take action? Or perhaps you have links and tips to other organisations, charities, petitions, etc. Please share these and your stories below in the comment section.