Voices from the Field – IRC Blog

International Rescue Committee (IRC) Refugee, Staff & Volunteer Blog

Archive for August, 2007

This Week’s Voices

Posted by The IRC on 31 August, 2007

A boy doing homework in a tree, Uganda
Photo: Shannon Meehan/The IRC
– Doing homework in a tree? Shannon Meehan’s photo share from a Ugandan refugee camp

– An interview with Shannon on the Voices on Genocide Prevention podcast

– Emily Holland on her new video documenting the challenges of providing water to uprooted Darfuris

– Two years after Hurricane Katrina, a look back at IRC’s response and one staffer’s Louisiana blog

– Fertiku Harris talks about a girl who wouldn’t take no for an answer when it came to going to school

– Melissa Winkler’s photo essay from her visit with Darfur schoolchildren and their teachers in Chad


Posted in refugees | Leave a Comment »

Noted – Podcast Interview with IRC’s Shannon Meehan

Posted by Kate Sands Adams on 31 August, 2007

Outside an IRC supported clinic in Kisangani, D.R. Congo
Clinic in Kisangani, Congo    Photo: Peter Biro/The IRC
Yesterday on the Voices on Genocide Prevention podcast, IRC advocacy director Shannon Meehan spoke with interviewer Jerry Fowler about the IRC’s mission, her work with refugees (“They are the most resilient, incredibly dynamic people I have met in my life”), and how she became involved in humanitarian issues (the Peace Corps was one early step along the way).

Shannon also spoke about her trip earlier this year to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where IRC studies are documenting the lingering impact of conflict there: people dying of easily preventable and treatable diseases because they don’t have access to basic health care. Link

Posted in Africa, health, news | Leave a Comment »

Voices in the News

Posted by The IRC on 30 August, 2007

George Clooney visiting IRC programs for displaced Sudanese in April 2006
Photo: Melissa Winkler/The IRC
— The Christian Science Monitor wrote about the effect celebrities can have raising awareness on issues in Africa by following a trip in July by former President Clinton to Malawi last Wednesday, August 22. A sidebar to the story noted relief organizations and the celebrities associated with them, including the IRC and actor George Clooney

— The Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed Ellen Beattie, IRC’s regional resettlement director in Atlanta, today for its front page article about Iraqi refugees resettled in the Atlanta area. Beattie described U.S. resettlement efforts as ‘lamentably slow.’ “It’s taken us a long time to wake up to this crisis,” Beattie said, referring to the 4 million Iraqis displaced from their homes since 2003.

 — A Reuters dispatch followed the trip of U.S. high school student Nick Anderson to Darfur with Oxfam America Wednesday. Working with friends Anderson raised more than $300,000 online to help people in Darfur. A portion of the money will go to the IRC.

 — The Dallas Morning-News reported Sunday that the U.S. is in the midst of resettling 25,000 refugees in the last three months of the fiscal year, which ends in September. The article noted after 9/11 refugee resettlement numbers decreased substantially, but are starting to climb. “It took time to adjust to the new provisions, but the refugee admittance processes are working smoothly,” Christine Petrie, IRC deputy vice president for resettlement, said. “Refugees are themselves victims of terror. So there’s no reason why they should get caught up in legislative measures.”

 — Also in the Dallas Morning-News, a profile of Jamala Maye, a Somali refugee, on the front page of its Sunday edition. Maye has worked with refugees translating and tutoring them in English at an IRC after school program in Dallas. Molly Whittington, IRC education coordinator in Dallas, was quoted in the article. The profile led into two pages devoted to articles about refugee issues.

 — The Champion Free Press, a weekly newspaper in Atlanta, named Ei Ei Phyo, an IRC volunteer in Atlanta, its ‘Champion of the Week’ last Friday, August 24. Phyo is a 17-year-old student from Burma who helps by translating for newly arrived Burmese refugees. “I can tell them my story,” Phyo said. “I can also tell them that I have been through it. We can share together.” PDF (see p. 6)

Posted in Africa, MiddleEast, news, UnitedStates | 2 Comments »

New Video – Water for Survival in Darfur

Posted by Emily Holland on 30 August, 2007

Video: Emily Holland/The IRC
Water is the most basic aspect of aid and something most of us take for granted. In Zalingei, West Darfur, the IRC provides water and promotes hygiene and sanitation to 36,280 displaced people and an additional 15,000 living in the nearby community.
Shooting this video, I got a panicky feeling looking out at the arid landscape.  Our staff were hard at work locating a new site for a well, but providing more water to more people at long distances (with no end to the conflict in sight) is daunting. How would I feel if my life and safety were threatened on all sides?  It astounded me how much of the displaced Darfuris’days are spent just trying to survive.

Posted in Africa, Darfur, video | Leave a Comment »

Katrina, Two Years On

Posted by Kate Sands Adams on 29 August, 2007

A Katrina evacuee in a Houston shelter, September 2005
Photo: Greg Beals/The IRC
This June, nearly two years after responding to a humanitarian crisis in the United States for the first time in our history, the International Rescue Committee closed our Hurricane Katrina evacuee assistance program.  Story

A Look Back

Only days after Hurricane Katrina destroyed a swath of the Gulf Coast, the IRC dispatched an emergency team of relief experts to Louisiana. Story 

The IRC’s Lisa David traveled back to her home state of Louisiana to join an IRC team supporting local relief efforts for people displaced by the disaster. Her week blogging on the road.  

More IRC Katrina blogs

Posted in emergencies, UnitedStates | 1 Comment »