Voices from the Field – IRC Blog

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

Archive for the ‘Darfur’ Category

Award-winning Photo from Darfur: “A Chance to Learn”

Posted by The IRC on 2 May, 2008

A Chance to learn, Kalma camp, Darfur Gerald Martone/The IRC
Photo: Gerald Martone/The IRC
Congratulations to Gerald Martone, IRC director of humanitarian affairs, who has won this year’s Outstanding Photo Prize in the annual photography contest organized by InterAction, a coalition of 160 U.S.-based humanitarian groups. The photo, entitled, “A Chance to Learn: Time for Class in a Refugee Camp,” depicts young children at the Kalma Camp in South Darfur, Sudan. There were four other prize winners and a grand prize winner.

You can learn about the IRC’s work in the Darfur region and see more photos and video here.

Posted in Africa, children, Darfur, education, photos | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Darfur: My Story

Posted by Kate Sands Adams on 19 December, 2007

Coffee at Al Fasher
Photo: Peter Biro/The IRC
Nicky SmithThe IRC’s Nicky Smith shared some of her experiences in Darfur with IRC supporters in a recent e-mail:
 
Deep inside the Kalma refugee camp in south Darfur, I’ve heard the sounds of children learning and playing, and the echoes of women laughing and socializing.
 
This is not what you would expect to hear in a place where thousands of Darfur’s refugees have been living in cramped conditions for years, anxiously awaiting the opportunity to return home. But thanks to supporters like you, the International Rescue Committee is providing hope to and empowering vulnerable women and children in Darfur and in 24 other conflict zones around the world.
 
In my role as IRC country representative to Sudan, I worked in many of Darfur’s refugee camps. I’ve seen the faces of thousands of people yearning for a return to normalcy and home. The IRC is there in the camps helping to restore hope, build friendships, and begin the healing process in otherwise dire and grim situations.
 
IRC runs a women’s center at Kalma Camp. It is a place of such hope and inspiration. To foster a sense of community and home in the camp, there is a daily coffee serving ceremony. Women gather together to roast and grind coffee beans, and to sing, dance and chat — just like they would in their own villages and homes. In another room at the center, women often sew and make baskets.
 
Just a few steps away, children are continuing their education — despite being in a camp. The IRC child and youth center provides them a full day of activities, from English classes, to sports practice, to arts and crafts. When I asked mothers what they liked most about the child and youth centers, they often were most grateful that their children were learning good manners. I always found it heartening that their humor could shine through during such difficult times.
 
Because the IRC has been operating in Sudan for more than 26 years, I can tell you from personal experience that we have unique access to the government, to refugee camps, and to resources, all of which help us provide the best services possible to our beneficiaries. And today, we are one of a few organizations with staff on the ground in Darfur offering direct aid to refugees across the region.
 
Please consider doubling your tax-deductible gift through our matching gift fund
 
On behalf of my fellow field staff working in Darfur — and throughout the world — my sincere thanks for your ongoing generosity and commitment to the IRC. Have a safe and healthy new year.

Posted in Africa, children, Darfur, emergencies, howtohelp, women | 8 Comments »

Voices in the News – ‘Kidnapping’ Scandal in Chad

Posted by Wynne Boelt on 9 November, 2007

Bahai, Chad 2
Photo: Melissa Winkler/The IRC
Newsweek this week reported on the alleged kidnapping of Chadian children by the French group Zoe’s Ark. “One of the worst outcomes is the loss of confidence and trust [in aid groups],” Melissa Winkler, IRC emergency communications director said. The article noted the IRC’s ‘well-organized resettlement’ of the so-called ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’ in the U.S. Newsweek’s Web site also included an audio interview with Jane Warburton, IRC child and youth protection and development unit director, about the alleged kidnapping, its repercussions and the IRC’s work. Link

Posted in Africa, children, Darfur, news, refugees | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Aid Workers to Criminals: Stop on Yellow

Posted by The IRC on 17 October, 2007

Yellow IRC vehicle in Bahai, Chad
Photo: The IRC
Carjacking, kidnapping and ambushes are among the biggest threats to aid workers involved in the world’s biggest humanitarian relief effort, in Sudan’s violent Darfur region and in neighboring Chad. According to a U.N. report, a record 68 aid vehicles were ambushed in the first five months of 2007 and 23 aid workers were abducted.

Now, the IRC has come up with a unique deterrent to potential attackers. After a spate of carjacking incidents near the town of Bahai and the Oure Cassoni refugee camp in northeastern Chad, the IRC has painted all its vehicles bright yellow—which is also the IRC’s official color. “A yellow vehicle is highly visible and easily identifiable—therefore traceable,” says Eric Le Guen, IRC’s global safety and security advisor. “We hope that local people will notice our vehicles, and if they see them driving around, will inform the police and security forces. And we hope that criminals will think twice about the traceability before taking our vehicles.”

Posted in Africa, Darfur, emergencies, refugees | Leave a Comment »

Emmy Nod for 60 Minutes Darfur Story Featuring the IRC

Posted by Kate Sands Adams on 28 September, 2007

Sudan Chad
Photo: Neila/The IRC
IRC emergency communications director Melissa Winkler e-mailed me some good news this morning:

“Just learned that Scott [Pelley] and his 60 Minutes crew won an Emmy this week for Searching for Jacob, the story about his search for a boy whose school books were salvaged from a destroyed North Darfur village and who ended up finding refuge in our very own Oure Cassoni Camp in northeastern Chad.”

You can read the story and watch the video here.

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