Rwanda: Helping Burundian Refugees Reconnect with their Families

Rwanda: Helping Burundian Refugees Reconnect with their Families

More than 55,000 Burundian refugees call Mahama camp home. The main camp located in the eastern province of Rwanda accommodates people who fled the political unrest in Burundi, which began in April 2015.

As part of the ICRC's Restoring Family Links program in the Great Lakes region, the Kigali Delegation distributed SIM cards to Burundian refugees in the Mahama camp. The idea is to make it easier for the people to directly reconnect with their families.

Now, they don't need to rely only on the existing ICRC and Red Cross phone call services offered to them in the camp as well as in the transit centers around Rwanda. They can speak to their family members left behind or living abroad, any time convenient to them.

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Q&A from the field: Reconnecting loved ones in Dominica

Q&A from the field: Reconnecting loved ones in Dominica

Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused massive destruction across the United States and the Caribbean. Power, connectivity, and damaged infrastructure left many on residents of islands without basic necessities—or a way to get in touch with loved ones.

Dominica was the first amongst Caribbean islands to be hit by Hurricane Maria. Because the island nation’s communication infrastructure was so severely impacted, many of the 73,000 residents on the island still don’t know what damage has been done to neighboring communities and still have no idea if the ones they love are safe. Through our family reconnection project, Restoring Family Links, the Red Cross is able to help people on Dominica locate missing family members via phone calls and written letters.

We spoke to Susan Schaefer, a Red Cross disaster responder, about her deployment to Dominica.

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Red Cross helps reunite two brothers after 30 years

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a conversation with Albert Fulton is worth a million. He has lived a cinematic kind of life—a story so incredible it’s hard to believe it’s true. And yet, Albert is the epitome of humility. His enthusiasm for sharing his life, especially the part about how the Red Cross helped him find his long-lost brother, is contagious.

Albert and Charles Fulton were born in Tennessee and raised in a family of eight children. They shared the same bed as kids, were only a grade apart in school, and did everything together. Everything, that is, except play the piano.

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Sisters Reconnected

Sisters Reconnected

Our client’s ‘Restoring Family Links’ file revealed her terrible circumstances.  Her mother died giving birth to infant twin sisters.  Her father was killed serving in their African nation’s military.   She, her younger sister, and the new twins all had to move in with her grandparents, cousins … and an aunt whose husband was also murdered because of his involvement in politics. 

 

Then, during a rebel attack, her grandparents were murdered, and her little twin sisters disappeared while she ran, with what remained of her family.  They walked day and night over 1500 kilometers to a Refugee Camp. But once there, her aunt and cousins soon disappeared one night, leaving only one sister with her.  And then finally, one day when she’d stayed home sick from the camp’s school, her sister, too, disappeared.  Despite searching for her everywhere, in the camp, in the nearby town, with the camp officials and the town’s police, no word of her was found.  Everybody and everything she’d ever known was lost to her.

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Eritrea: 18 years later, father finds lost son

Eritrea: 18 years later, father finds lost son

18 years had passed since Michael last communicated with his family. He wanted to locate his only son and be reunited again. Nearly two decades since being separated, that long-impossible dream came true.

''No words can express my happiness. I am born again,'' Michael said after a connection was made with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross and its family tracing services.

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