19 August 2016
Last September, a photo of a small boy on a beach caused a shockwave of horror across Europe. With his blue shorts, red t-shirt and small shoes, Alan Kurdi looked like any one of the thousands of European children who had enjoyed a seaside holiday with their families that summer. But the photo was wrong. Instead of playing in the sand, Alan was lying face down in it. He had drowned, alongside his brother Galib and mother Rehana, as they fled the war in Syria for a safer life in Europe.
Despite the outrage, the headlines, the political promises that followed these photos, one year later children are still dying. Today, on World Humanitarian Day, make a pledge to join us on Saturday 17 September to march in solidarity with refugees and stop children dying on Europe's shores.
We believe in a world where refugees are always welcomed, where people on the move are always treated with dignity and respect.
That's why, over the past year, ActionAid has been on the ground supporting thousands of refugees in our women-friendly centres on Lesvos, from the sisters doing everything they could to survive, the children who were facing freezing winter nights in temporary shelters and the mothers who had lost contact with their children.
At these centres, we helped mums and babies with essential hygiene kits and provided emotional support and information in Arabic and Farsi.
After the EU-Turkey deal, we extended our work to camps on the Greek mainland. Our focus has changed from supporting refugees in transit to helping them live in dignity and safety in the new refugee camps.
We need a long-term political solution
Our work on the front line of the refugee crisis is essential in supporting people who urgently need help right now. But we also need a long-term political solution.
ActionAid is calling on the UK to do more to welcome refugees, to respect the rights of people on the move, and to tackle migration's root causes: conflict, climate change and inequality. And that's where we need your help.
Last year, we joined 100,000 people in London to show our support for a better deal for refugees.
But thousands of people - including hundreds of children like Alan - are still dying, trying to reach safety in Europe.
Why march now?
This September, world leaders will meet in New York to decide how to respond to the refugee crisis. So this is the most important time of 2016 to send a strong message to our government and the world - #RefugeesWelcome.
There are now 65.3 million refugees in the world - the highest number ever. It's the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time. So what better day than World Humanitarian Day to sign up to say you'll help make a difference?
Let's show that we have not forgotten our solidarity with refugees and call on politicians to tackle the real causes of this crisis. To do this, we need everyone. So tell your friends, tell your colleages, tell your family that this march is happening and that every person who joins us makes our call stronger. Sign up now.