Finding "Papa"

Finding "Papa"

Brigitte arrived on the doorstep of the American Red Cross, Southern Arizona Chapter, in September 2016 with the knowledge, hope and need for support to locate her missing father.  She had recalled seeing Red Cross workers opening cases for families who had been separated from their loved ones due to armed conflict and violence in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Life on the run started in 2003 when Brigitte was 17 years old.  Her father was placed on a target list because of his differing vision for the future of the Country.  Brigitte, her father, and sister were able to flee to the nearby capital city of Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, where they attempted to reestablish their lives.  Thankfully, they were able to live together for a while.  Brigitte was able to make some money by baking and selling bread, but the danger was ever present.  Eventually, groups who had originally targeted her father in Kinshasa now offered a bounty for his return.

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A Mother's Love is Timeless

A Mother's Love is Timeless

In early March 2017, Hawa Mailon met with Elissa Maish, the Red Cross Restoring Family Links Caseworker in Tucson, Arizona.  Hawa’s story involved a first-hand account of most horrific epidemic of the decade and included an ending that no one really anticipated.  

Hawa was born and grew up in Guinea Conakry on the west coast of Africa.  She married and had two sons, Oumar and Mohammed.  For several years after the death of her husband in 2005, Hawa was able to keep her small family together. Eviction from their apartment forced them to split up. Each lived with different friends in various locations. They eventually lost touch with each other. Oumar was only 7 years old.    In 2016, Hawa gained refugee status and arrived in Tucson. She never stopped thinking and worrying about her sons.  In March 2017, at an informal get-together in Tucson, she lamented the loss of her sons to a young man from Guinea.  She was about to experience the serendipity of receiving information that might lead to her son. 

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Restoring Family Links: Connecting Susan Stevens

Restoring Family Links: Connecting Susan Stevens

Hugh and Susan Stevens are on a mission to preserve part of their family history. A few years ago, the couple visited the Jewish Museum in Berlin and after reading about the people and families impacted, she felt it was time to dig further into her own untold family story.

While cleaning out some items that belonged to her late aunt, Vera Rosenthal, Susan stumbled upon two well-preserved typed letters emblazoned with the American Red Cross logo.

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A Message of Hope for Rose

A Message of Hope for Rose

Rose Gonsa Minga and her family fled war-torn Congo seeking a better life.  Instead, they were unexpectedly torn apart.

The family left the DRC capital of Kinshasa on a grueling journey of more than 1,000 miles. Rose was pregnant for most of the journey. Once arrived in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, Rose was hospitalized due to complications, remaining there for six months. Unable to care for her two younger children, they stayed with friends.  Her eldest daughter had remained back in the DRC awaiting instructions to rejoin the rest of the family.

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A History of Restoring Family Links: Finding Family in the Former Yugoslavia

I am new to volunteering with the Restoring Family Links program at the American Red Cross and have been digitizing old paper files from the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1990’s. I see many thank you notes, pictures and hand-written messages in hundreds of foreign languages and many different beautiful scripts. I have been so moved by some of the cases and amazed by the global work of the Red Cross network, and wanted to share these stories.

One case I recently stumbled across came as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. This series of conflicts has been called the deadliest since WWII. Many of the actions that took place during the war were genocidal, and it’s now infamous for the war crimes that took place.

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