November 12, 2020

Through the last couple of days, we have divulged the true meaning of Choice and Connection in this organization. Choosing how to donate in the most efficient way, connecting to all those involved, and finally, building a community that enhances the rebuilding of lives is how we explain our way of giving. Community is a broad term, but in its simplest form refers to a group of people with shared characteristics. Communities are all around us; in our neighborhoods, at school or work, and especially in our family. Rebuilding lives includes rebuilding the support systems and communities that many refugees have left behind. Leaving your life behind and traveling to an unfamiliar place means finding new characteristics that you share with those around you; new neighbors, new peers, and new ways to connect with family far away. 

The refugee crisis is a multifaceted issue, and sometimes includes the difficulty of an unwilling population accepting these new refugees into their communities. When the economy of a tourist destination is flooded with people other than tourists, it can change the way money is allocated and exchanged within that community. While local store owners rely on revenue from tourists, it can create a negative association with refugees in the area mitigating that revenue. The Moria refugee camp and the entire population of Lesvos was our starting point, so we evaluated the sympathies of the surrounding community. This is where other donation platforms fall short. Their systems look only at the needs of refugees without considering the larger effects that it may have on their chances of being accepted into a community. We make up for this by focusing on building a lasting community within our team, our donors, and especially our families that we work with.

In order to help build a community for these families, we have to work together and build our own community within the workplace. Duet heavily expanded at the start of the global pandemic, but has made an incredible community of driven, outgoing, and talented individuals. I joined the Duet community with the familiarity of one individual but have grown to respect and enjoy the time I get to spend with every team member at Duet. With game nights, team check-ins, and constant communication, we have built the Duet family that is filled with laughter, love, and support for one another; keeping in mind that this has all been done virtually. With this community comes the evolution of the company’s personality, seen through many of our witty posts, eloquent emails, and of course this amazing blog that I am able to share to all of our readers. We care for each other just as much as we care for our work, and this community has created one of the best remote team’s I have ever been a part of.

With a "home base" in Los Angeles, here are some of our Duet members safely getting together and having takeout lunch after a long hike! Team bonding at its finest.

Our donors are a fundamental part of the Duet community, and help support the work that we do. They themselves have created their own community, and through new features on our site such as the Donor portals, all of our supporters have a place to visualize their impact in this community. By sharing their personal achievements within Duet, they help us continue to grow our ideas into reality. Through our events such as the Maru Cooking Class back in August, we saw our donor community face to face and got the opportunity to interact and thank them over a homemade meal, something that a global pandemic might have hindered in other organizations. Our donor events will continue to occur with a great turnout and a great sense of community and support during this time of isolation. Reps for Refugees, a plan to bring workout classes to our donor community will be launching soon as many safely or virtually gather with friends and family for the holiday season!

The reason we build the Duet community is to support the refugees we work with. We believe we have found a more efficient way to help them rebuild their lives and their communities through the inclusion of local economies. By building the relationships between local store owners and refugees, the latter is viewed as a player in the economy. Their presence in the area boosts revenue of local businesses and creates the welcoming environment that drove them to leave behind their family and their belongings. Hope for a better future brings refugees to places like Lesvos, and by redefining the sentiment of the surrounding community to be a positive one is a fundamental factor of Duet. This model has been forming new communities of shared values, shared characteristics, and a shared environment to be complementary in rebuilding the lives of these refugee families. 

Giving Duet includes so much more than just giving a refugee an item they need. By giving them the autonomy of life decisions, connecting them with those who are ready to help and support, and building a community in their new home, our part in this Duet community is much bigger than it may seem. By outlining each of our core values, we see the ways in which our community engages with us and how we all benefit from the outcome. Choice, Connection, and Community drive what we do and shape what we can accomplish.