This Week in Restoring Family Links: 11/9/16-11/10/16

Sophia Fredericks, Social Engagement Intern, National Headquarters, Washington D.C. 

Fatim Jawara on the field. Photo Credit: Gambia Football Federation

Fatim Jawara on the field. Photo Credit: Gambia Football Federation

Gambia: Gambia’s 19 year old goalkeeper from Gambia’s national women’s football team died crossing the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe. Fatim Jawara’s boat sank when a storm hit when crossing from Italy to Libya. Jawara’s absence was noticed when she didn’t make an appearance when her team was scheduled to play the Senegalese Club Casa Sports.

Jawara’s death brings to light the major issue of illegal migration to Gambians. The U.N. refugee agency estimates that as many as 3,740 refugees and migrants have so far died in their attempts to cross the Mediterranean. Many Gambians are attempting to reach Europe because they hear stories of people making millions of dollars and becoming rich playing football.

“She came from a poor background like most Gambians...These young people just want to provide for their families and so did she.” said Ebou Fay, the Vice President of Gambia’s Football Federation. Jawara is one of 7,000 from Gambia attempting to flee so far this year. It is currently found to be the largest country attempting to migrate illegally to Italy. As many as 3,500 have drowned crossing the Mediterranean in 2016 according to the IOM.

Haiti: Volunteers from the Haitian Red Cross are preparing for a vaccination campaign against the outbreak of cholera. The Canadian Red Cross is conducting trainings in order to make the vaccination campaign as effective as possible. “We train groups of volunteers on what cholera is, we explain that it is a serious illness and what the symptoms are, we talk about what families can do to prevent it, and what we can do to easily treat it,” said Shelley Rose, a member of the Canadian Red Cross.

Volunteers of Haitian Red Cross participate in training for cholera prevention campaign. Photo Credit: Maria Santto/Finnish Red Cross

Volunteers of Haitian Red Cross participate in training for cholera prevention campaign. Photo Credit: Maria Santto/Finnish Red Cross

The 350 Red Cross Volunteers working in the campaign have also been distributing hygiene kits. Many of the volunteers are well trusted by the communities they are working in because many volunteers are from the villages in which they are volunteering. The cholera outbreak is largely a result of Hurricane Matthew hitting Haiti in October. It was found that there have been as many as 3700 cases of cholera in Haiti since Hurricane Matthew.

The disease first became an epidemic after Haiti’s major earthquake in 2010. “Cholera is a huge issue...I don’t think people expected it to come this fast or this severely” said Garrett Ingoglia, a Vice President of emergency response for the aid group Americares. It is estimated that there are currently 1.4 million people in Haiti who are said to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance