By Cristal Montañéz Baylor, International Coordinator for Hope for Venezuelan Refugees and a member of the Rotary E-club of Houston, Texas, USA
It is immensely gratifying to witness children, in the midst of crisis, smiling again over a shared meal. Your heart is touched as you sense their parents’ tension ease and see expressions of hope radiate across their faces.
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes access to food as a fundamental human right. And access to food continues to be a focal point of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis.
We are in the fifth phase of the Hope for Venezuelan Refugees project, which is providing hot “soup meals” to Venezuelan refugees, migrants, and walkers (also known as “caminantes”) on the Cúcuta-Pamplona humanitarian route.
By Jeff Lake, Rotary Club of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
I began to work with the nonprofit organization Chin Community of Indiana in 2016 after our club’s foundation granted them $250,000 over five years, with a three-year extension through 2023. Many Burmese Chin, fleeing persecution in their home country, have chosen Southport as their new home. Almost 20,000 Chin live on the south side of Indianapolis, making it one of the largest concentrations of Chin people outside of Myanmar.
Cristal Montañéz has been working with Rise Against Hunger to provide meals for Venezuelan refugees in Colombia.
By Quentin Wodon, Rotary Club of Washington Global, USA
Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are among the most vulnerable people on earth. The latest UNHCR report released ahead of World Refugee Day in June estimates that 79.5 million people were forcibly displaced in 2019. Sadly, the number keeps rising as conflict and economic crises force people out of their home. Syria still has the largest number of refugees globally, but displacement is also affecting millions of people in Venezuela and Central America, generating major economic and civilian challenges for the Latin America region as a whole. Continue reading →
LA 72 held this commemoration of the mass murder of 72 migrants by the Los Zetas drug cartel in San Fernando, Mexico, in 2010. Photo courtesy Giorgio Algeri
By Giorgio Algeri, 2010-11 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia
On a late evening in August, a family of eight migrant persons from Honduras arrived at the refugee shelter where I was serving as a short-term volunteer in Tabasco, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala. The family of three adults and five children, most below the age of 10, had fled their country for security reasons and were renting a tiny room in Tabasco awaiting asylum. The son of the landlord came home drunk and threatened the family with a machete, forcing them to leave all their belongings behind. Continue reading →
A Rotary team visited the Nakivale Rotaract Club in January (select cc for English subtitles)
By Francis Xavier Sentamu, District 9211 (Uganda) governor-elect
When I first saw a story on BBC in the spring of 2016 about the Nakivale Refugee settlement, I didn’t give it much thought. It was distant to me. Somewhat coincidentally, I attended a “changemaker” event that November organized by the American Refugee Committee, where 13 youth from the Nakivale Refugee settlement were being honored for their project ideas to impact the refugee community. Continue reading →
Eric Lee and his wife hand out supplies to refugee children in Bangladesh.
By Eric Lee, a member of the Rotary Club of Cheat Lake, West Virginia, USA
Service above self was the underpinning theme of our aid project for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh this year. The project was a colorful example of how Rotary works around the globe in the service of others. Clubs from the United States and Bangladesh delivered dry goods to Rohingya refugees in the Bahlukali camp along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in February. Continue reading →
Dr. Pia Skarabis-Querfeld treating a patient at a refugee shelter.
By Brady Way, 2017-18 president of the Rotary Club of Moorehead City-Lookout, North Carolina, USA
In the winter of 2014, Europe was beginning to experience a massive refugee influx as a result of the turmoil in the Middle East and Africa. Berlin would receive 100,000 of the 1.2 million refugees which came to Germany.
Rotarian Dr. Pia Skarabis-Querfeld went to a refugee shelter with a much needed donation of clothing. She was immediately struck with the urgent need for medical care and medical supplies. The refugees had traveled long distances for several months, in harsh conditions, fleeing many atrocities at home. They had many obvious acute and chronic problems, especially the children. Continue reading →