This Week in Restoring Family Links: 11/23/16

This Week in Restoring Family Links: 11/23/16

France: President Hollande of France is facing pressure to sign the Safe Schools Declaration. A petition is going around for France to finally sign this declaration in order for schools and universities to remain protected during times of armed conflict. This declaration is essential according to many. Zama-Coursen-Neff, the children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch said “hundred of thousands of children worldwide find their schools under attack or used by fighting forces to wage war. The Safe Schools Declaration provides a concrete way for countries to commit to protecting children’s education, even during armed conflict.”

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This week in Restoring Family Links: 06/06/2016-06/10/2016

This week in Restoring Family Links: 06/06/2016-06/10/2016

Refugee team to compete in the Olympics: On June 3, the International Olympic Committee revealed that a team of 10 refugees will be participating and competing in the Rio Olympics Games in 2016 under the Olympics flag. The athletes are citizens of South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia – all of which are suffering from instability and insecurity. The selected participants will participate in a variety of sports, such as swimming, athletics – 800m, athletics – 400m, marathon, athletics – 1500m, judo – 70kg, and judo – 90kg. 

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Pregnant in a refugee camp

Pregnant in a refugee camp

Citegetse Laurence is due at any moment. Literally. “I’m past nine months pregnant,” she says with a grin. A maternity ward nurse at the Tanzania Red Cross Society hospital in the Mtendeli refugee camp, she is more than familiar with the ins and outs of giving birth. And, as a refugee who recently escaped ongoing violence in her home country of Burundi, she is more than familiar with the challenges of being pregnant in such an environment. Unfortunately, Citegetse is not alone. 

The doctors at this hospital see an average of 120 patients per day. As refugees transferred to Mtendeli from the overcrowded Nyarugusu camp three hours to the south at the rate of 1,500 a week, that number continued to grow. Of those 120 daily patients, 50, on average, are pregnant. Walk into the hospital any day of the week and you will hear the cries of newborns and see their mothers breastfeeding. Walk throughout the camp and you will see pregnant women everywhere. One doctor tells me that the high fertility rate of Burundian women is their way of replacing the many they have lost. It is a heartbreaking way to think about new life in the world.

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This week in Restoring Family Links: 05/23/2016-05/27/2016

This week in Restoring Family Links: 05/23/2016-05/27/2016

World Humanitarian Summit: From May 23 to May 24 in Istanbul, Turkey, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon initiated the first World Humanitarian Summit. The summit was convened at a time period when “protracted conflict, instability, and forced displacement are the defining features of the global landscape,” and when the growth of financial needs for these crises increases significantly. The summit thus urged world leaders, organizations, and others to take more actions to aid those needs as well as to prevent further human suffering. 

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Three young Burundian refugees united with their families in Rwanda

Three young Burundian refugees united with their families in Rwanda

Gérard is 13 years old. He was separated from his parents and then his brother when a wave of violence swept through Burundi in April 2015. He is now a refugee in Rwanda.

"I used sit alone and wonder how I was ever going to find my parents. I thought a lot about my mother because I didn't get to say goodbye to her."

A year later, Gérard and two other boys – 13-year-old Ernest and 12-year-old Eric – were reunited with their parents, brothers, sisters and friends. It was a day full of joy and emotion.

At around 11 o'clock in the morning, the three boys were picked up by the ICRC in Gashora and taken on the four-hour drive to the refugee camp in Mahama in eastern Rwanda. The camp is currently home to some 50,000 Burundian refugees. And that's where their families and friends were eagerly awaiting their return.

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