NGO Committee on Migration
FAWCO UN Rep Jane Politi is Vice Chair of the NGO Committee on Migration (NGO CoM) in New York. FAWCO is proud to support the NGO CoM's efforts, including co-sponsoring a position paper that was featured on a UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) blog. The NGO CoM, FAWCO and other partners also organized a panel discussion at the UN Commission on the Status of Women on the importance of early childhood education to increasing resilience among refugee children.
FAWCO promotes the UNHCR's petition to world governments #WithRefugees
To learn more about refugees, displaced people and migrants, watch this UNHCR video.
Refugee Relief: How Can FAWCO Clubs Help?
How have FAWCO member clubs been involved, and what can we do to help now? Learn more.
Read personal reflections on helping refugees in Austria by UN Liaison Laurie Richardson.
Update from Greece: Read the report on organizations helping refugees in Lesvos by Grace Christovasilis, FAWCO's UN Rep in Athens.
We’ve seen the headlines, and in the New York Times (Sept. 14, 2015):
“More than 200,000 Syrian people have been killed in the 4 1/2-year Syrian civil war. The constant violence has forced more than four million to flee the country, fueling a refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe...”
For background information, a BBC article summarizes the ongoing situation with refugees arriving in Europe from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in conflict. FAWCO clubs in Lebanon, Greece and Italy have been affected for several years, but in 2015 the influx of people fleeing from war arrived in the rest of Europe.
A million refugees came through Greece in 2015; 58,000 remain in the country following border closures along the Balkan route to Northern Europe. The death toll of refugees and migrants lost in the Mediterranean in 2015 reached a staggering figure of over 3,700, and 2016 is already proving to be the deadliest year on record. Since Winter 2015, AWOG members
- donated food, clothing, blankets and shoes to refugee camps and organizations in Athens, Lesvos and Chios
- volunteered at a warehouse, sorting and distributing in-kind donations for camps
- raised funds and collected in-kind donations for teenage boy refugees aged 10-18 who have been separated from their parents.
In 2016, UN Rep Grace Christovasilis helped to organize a solidarity day for and with refugees together with UNHCR Greece and UNHCR Spain. A team of former FC Barcelona players, legends and veterans, visited Ioannina, Greece, in November to hold football workshops for boys, girls and adults who live in refugee sites. FC Barcelona ex-players stood side by side with refugees and asylum seekers in Greece, raised funds for their aid and protection, and recognized the effort made by the Greek people in providing shelter for them.
The Solidarity Journey included over 540 refugees and their children, joined by the UNHCR Greece team and volunteers from several NGOs. 220 boys and girls from the refugee camps took part in a coaching clinic designed and run by the Club's ex-players. During their visit, FC Barcelona veterans played a friendly match with a local team, PAS Giannina CF Veterans.
The events were featured on FC Barcelona's website which has over 6 million views daily -- bringing much attention to this UNHCR collaboration. You can watch an inspiring video about FC Barcelona's engagement. Photos courtesy FC Barcelona.
AAWE members started a Refugee Task Force in February 2016, focusing their efforts on education and advocacy, donations and fundraising, and integration. They collaborate with a French NGO supporting a school for refugees, the American Cathedral in Paris, and the American School of Paris.
The Task Force has become an active network of concerned members who meet regularly to share ideas, experiences, resources and connections. They have identified programs and partners, held social and cultural exchange events to raise funds, collected and delivered in-kind donations, trained tutors, and identified host families for refugees.
Recent projects include collection and distribution of 70 backpacks filled with things like underwear, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shaving cream - all carefully and lovingly packed, and collection of donations of furniture and organization of transport to refugee camps in northern France, where they will furnish a new school facility.