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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Red Cross Partners with PinnacleHealth to Reconnect Family Torn Apart by West African Violence

Red Cross Partners with PinnacleHealth to Reconnect Family Torn Apart by West African Violence

Imagine being separated from your children due to war and not knowing how to contact them. Years go by and you wonder whether or not they are still alive. Had they managed to escape the violence? You have little information about their whereabouts and don’t know where to turn. You, yourself, are alone in a different country and speak little of the native language. Where do you go for help?

This was the situation facing Victoria, a refugee from Liberia now living in the United States.

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Human+Kind: Juan's story

Human+Kind: Juan's story

I have been in Tijuana for 10 months since I was deported. I volunteer at the shelter. I guard the front door. I have seen people that have been deported from the United States, as well as people who have migrated from the south on their way north.

I have family in the United States, a young son. I’ve received a lifetime ban from re-entering. So, I’m here for the time being and, while I’m here, I’m taking classes [at the shelter] to complete my high school education. I’m also studying computers. I put together my first PowerPoint presentation on sea turtles who are at risk of extinction.

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Afghanistan: For Parents of missing migrant, silence is the hardest part

Afghanistan: For Parents of missing migrant, silence is the hardest part

Shafiq wanted to study in Europe. He has now disappeared, like thousands of other Afghan migrants on the Balkan route.

Imagine how it must feel when your 15-year-old son calls you from Iran and asks your permission to go to Europe. This was the situation facing Haji Ghulam Mohammad in October last year. Shafiq was studying in Iran and staying with relatives there. Other relatives arrived from Afghanistan en route to Europe, and offered to take him with them.

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Culture at the Forefront | RFL Chicago brings World Refugee Day downtown!

Culture at the Forefront | RFL Chicago brings World Refugee Day downtown!

This year we welcomed returning artist Abraham Mellish, and new artists Azieb Abraha and Lester Rey to the stage. Each brought a really different sound to the event, sharing music with influences from the Caribbean, Ethiopia, and Liberia, blended together with sounds from the Chicago Latin and hip-hop scene. We also had three new art exhibits this year that were set up throughout Daley Plaza for public viewing. Volunteers answered questions and provided resources and information for anyone wanting to learn more about what we do. We also staged ‘WRD Ambassadors’ throughout the Plaza with Refugee Fact Sheets from the Illinois Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services, handing out almost all 400 of the copies. The Red Cross had an information tent and was staffed by RFL Intern Tessa Lavdiotis and RFL volunteers Susie Mazaheri and Jemina Shikany. Many people approached our tent with questions about donating blood, and while we directed them appropriately, it provided a great opportunity to educate the public about our Restoring Family Links program and our work around the world. 

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