Want to help refugees, but don't know how? There's an app for that

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Facebook / UNHCR - Syria

With 25,000 Syrian refugees set to enter Canada by the end of February 2016, knowing how you can help out can seem like a daunting task.

Two Vancouverites are aiming to take a bit of the mystery out of the equation with a new app called Give Refuge that connects people directly with refugee non-profits in their area.

Give Refuge lays out non-profits in your area on an interactive map and makes the process of giving back simple: either choose the organization that suits you and donate directly, or leave information behind and allow app developers Herman Chandi and Arvinder Singh to connect you with the appropriate charity.

Facebook / UNHCR

SEE ALSO: Syrian refugees will add $563 million to B.C. economy

“We have a couple out in Cowichan Valley on the Island saying ‘hey, we have room for a mother and children if any refugee needs hosting,’ we had another individual in Ottawa say ‘I’m able to buy groceries or I’m able to give tours of the city,'” Chandi told Vancity Buzz.

“We’ve put that information out to non-profits and we’re waiting to hear back, but we’ve definitely started rolling out the process.”

Chandi and Singh have managed to connect with two Vancouver non-profits since the app’s launch on December 3: Inland Refugee Society of BC and the Pacific Immigrant Resources Society. They’re looking for more organizations willing to join their roster.

As children of immigrant parents, Chandi and Singh say this issue is personal for them.

“The Syrian refugee crisis really brought the issue of accepting refugees into the nation to the forefront of discussion on social media,” said Chandi.

“Despite some negativity, we found that many engaged individuals expressed a desire to do something to assist refugees directly but didn’t know how to take the first step.”

If you want to use Give Refuge to help Syrian refugees in Vancouver, click here.

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.
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