Aylan Kurdi. Does the name mean anything to you? Just over one year ago, he was the tiny Syrian boy lying dead face down in the water, washed ashore on a Turkish beach as his family fled Syria to escape ISIS. It was the image that made front pages, shocked people across the world and had us all pledging to do more to help the refugee crisis. One year on from that tragic, senseless death? His own father says nothing has changed: “Everyone claimed they wanted to do something because of the photo that touched them so much. But what is happening now? People are still dying and nobody is doing anything about it.”

aylan kurdi

So what can we do to help the growing refugee population and actually put an end to the crisis? How about starting by recognising that refugees aren’t some different species totally different to us? They’re people with families, friends, dreams, hopes and fears – just like you. Maybe you’ve even got ‘refugenes’? If you’re looking puzzled right now, that’s a cue to watch this video…

Grassroots nonprofit Help Refugees has enlisted a group of famous faces to talk about their refugees roots – and highlight their families’ contributions to British society as part of the ‘I’ve Got Refugenes‘ campaign. The short film features fashion designer Bella Freud, alongside popstar Rita Ora, model Naomi Shimada and social entrepreneur Elisa Sednaoui-Dellal – to mention just a few of the names involved. The aim? To show solidarity with the people affected by the current refugee crisis – and to raise awareness of the problem. And to encourage people to share their own #Refugenes stories.

help refugees

There’s also a limited edition ‘I’ve Got Refugenes’ T-shirt designed by Bella Freud you can buy to support the campaign. This has gone on for too long now. Let’s remember Aylan Kurdi – and the thousands of other children and families affected. And let’s do something about it. We all have refugenes.

For more information and to support the campaign, see Help Refugees’ I’ve Got Refugenes page on the charity’s website.