I don't want to imagine what it would feel like to have to flee my home because my life was in danger. Still, I imagine I might survive many things provided my family was intact. As a subscriber to blogcatalog I was asked to take part in Bloggers Unite, today, November 10th and blog about the plight of refugees. Knowing how devastated I'd be if this happened to me I could hardly refuse. So here's my post. By the way, Refugees United provides a way for refugees to find missing family members while remaining anonymous.
Blogcatalog have set up a nice page with suggested links to organizations and information about the plight of refugees. I took a look and picked out the following as my favorites: Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children and stories of refugees at The British Red Cross site. I also want to mention stories of refugees who are making a new life in the USA and who wrote their own stories as they study English in a local USA college. Obviously though we can't rescue every refugee and bring them to the USA. Displaced people need water, food, shelter, a way to reconnect with seperated family members, and, additionally, their dignity.
The previously mentioned Women's Commission... are starting an initiative today called Beyond Firewood: Fuel Alternatives and Protection Strategies for Displaced Women and Girls. Apparently refugee women and girls who go out searching for firewood are in personal danger. Aid food that is provided needs cooking and fuel is a limited resource. Obviously it's in everyone's best interest if they are able to conserve fuel by using alternative, fuel-efficient cooking strategies. Being as I support the use of stick fueled rocket stoves, solar ovens, and other fuel-saving alternatives I thoroughly approve of this initiative.
Now onto the hero part. Last week I had the honor of meeting a real live hero. Yohannes Gebregeorgis is one of 10 nominees for the CNN heroes award. As a political refugee from Ethiopia, he arrived in Texas in 1981. After putting himself through college and obtaining a graduate degree in library science, Yohannes worked as a children's librarian in San Francisco. In 1988 Yohannes started the non-profit organization Ethiopia Reads. He began working with others who care about children in Ethiopia and opened the first ever free public Ethiopian children's library in 2003. Yohannes told me last week that a second Ethiopian children's library has now been opened. My favorite of all is the donkey mobile library, which takes books out of the city to children who know how to read but have never held a book. You can read more about Yohannes at CNN, vote for Yohannes and/or other heroes at http://heroes.cnn.com/, and see a picture of the donkey mobile library at Ethiopia Reads.