‘Volunteers of great importance to refugee organisations'



According to the American consultancy firm California Environmental Associates, the Postcode Lotteries are 7th in the top 20 maritime philanthropic funders for the period 2010-2016.

On World Refugee Day, Sigrid van Aken, CEO of Novamedia/Postcode Lotteries, points out the great value of volunteers assisting refugees. “Not only the suffering of refugees at the borders of the EU needs attention, but also the help they get from the many volunteers in Europe. Volunteers play an important role in the wellbeing of the refugees and in protecting human rights.”

On June 20, the global community observes World Refugee Day, an international day designated by the United Nations to honour the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their homes to escape conflict or persecution.

Courage of refugees
Worldwide, 82 million people are forced to flee, many of whom trying to cross the borders of the European Union. “Living conditions in refugee camps are sometimes degrading“, says Sigrid van Aken, CEO of Novamedia/Postcode Lotteries. “People get mistreated and even killed during 'pushbacks'. The EU fails to prevent human rights violations. That is why it is good that attention is also paid to this on World Refugee Day, in addition to the attention to the strength and courage of many refugees.”

Sigrid van Aken: 'The help and work of social initiatives and volunteers is essential to help refugees find their way in society'.

Thousands of volunteers
There is also a positive side to it, says the CEO. “Every day, thousands of people volunteer to make life a little better for refugees, for example as a language coach, for legal assistance or as a buddy. The important role that all these volunteers play is not sufficiently known. And that is a missed opportunity, especially now that it was difficult to actively deploy volunteers during the corona pandemic and that there is a real need for them in the coming period.”

There are countless social initiatives that take action on behalf of these people or hold governments to account, such as Amnesty, the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF and the Refugee Council. “Unfortunately, society does not pay much attention to the importance of the work they do, while this work is of great importance for the well-being of refugees. The help and work of social initiatives and volunteers is essential to help these people find their way in society.”
Better protected
Organisations such as the above and Human Rights Watch, Nadia’s Initiative and UNHCR receive an annual financial contribution thanks to 13 million Postcode Lottery players in five European countries. These Postcode Lottery players together raised 800 million euros last year for a better world. “Thanks to the players, more money goes to good causes, volunteers can be supported and together we work towards a better world where human rights are better protected.”