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  • Writer's pictureMobile Refugee Support

Limited Resources

As a humanitarian aid organisation operating in an emergency situation we face the challenge of prioritisation daily. Because we operate within a system that disregards people’s most fundamental rights. All we do, everything we can give displaced people surviving in makeshift camps, only goes so far in filling the gaps and making living conditions more bearable. Volunteers joining the team learn that not having enough and saying no is the hardest part of what we do. But it’s a reality. As a grassroots NGO distributing vital aid such as tents, bedding, warm clothing, shoes and more, our resources are limited. We assess needs and give priority to new arrivals and to the most urgent cases of distress. But what happens when the need is higher than our resources.

We say no with rage in our bodies that we would have any say at all over who gets the vital items they need. Well aware that in that moment, for that person, no means a harder existence. We can’t shy away from the reality of that. We bear witness to it everyday. With respect and compassion we hold space for the fear, the frustration, the anger and the injustice felt by those we serve when our answer is “sorry, today I cannot help.”

It is the state’s responsibility, by law, to meet humanitarian needs. But that’s not the case here.. The state does not respond or provide. If responsibility is shared it’s between grassroots organisations on the ground. Funded by donations and run by teams of volunteers, responsibility is limited by practical capacity.

In fact is it not the state’s strategy to keep grassroots organisations fire-fighting and draining their resources on the most basic vital aid? The state absolves itself of its responsibility, enforcing racist policies that violate people’s right daily

We work everyday to find balance in how we provide aid. Offering choice as often as we can, treating people with dignity. We stand side by side as equal humans in unequal circumstances, in a place that never ever balances out.

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