This is a guest post from Tad Baldwin, Atuntaqui/Quito 1963-65 who is our treasurer emeritus and long-time leader of Friends of Ecuador.
This new NPCA affiliate, Peace Corps Community in Support of Refugees, was formally accepted in the past month. Tad Baldwin and a handful of Washington, DC based RPCVs have been working for the past year to connect with the nine non-profit State Department contract holders (who have hundreds of affiliates across the country coordinating refugee resettlement) to facilitate greater RPCV involvement in refugee issues. A number of geographic groups and individuals have been active in this area for a number of years and more opportunities for service exist. Those with relevant language skills are especially welcome.
The major initiative is support for refugee resettlement within the US. The non-profits under contract (including the Catholic Bishops, the IRC, Lutherans, etc.) were anticipating a large jump in their work efforts…although those numbers may be halved if the president gets his way. The roles involved welcoming new families, setting up apartments, helping with school and job searches, and the complex tasks involved in resettlement. In the coming months information will appear on the NPCA website providing contact information for the local agencies coordinating this work across the country to help those interested to take the preliminary connection step. Small groups of RPCVs may chose to undertake all the required tasks on a shared responsibility basis.
A secondary purpose is to advocate for the refugees in our local communities, via churches, community groups and the press, especially in the face of alarming anti-immigrant executive statements. A third purpose is support for refugees overseas, a more difficult long-distance task that is sidelined for the present. Some RPCVs have been helping in the Greek Island refugee camps.
Some RPCVs from Ecuador have been involved in services to Columbian refugees and so have experience in this area. All are now welcome to help! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org