The Refugee Support Express – 1 March 2018
Welcome to the Refugee Support Express
Breaking in Bangladesh
It is with great sadness that we have to announce that are leaving Tumbru camp in Bangladesh, for now. In an emotional post this week, Refugee Support Europe co-founder Paul Hutchings broke the news to refugee supporters.
- Tensions have risen since Myanmar claimed jurisdiction over the ‘no-mans-land’ of Tumbru camp two weeks ago, and gaining access to the camp has become almost impossible for our ground team.
- This tightening of the camp’s ‘security’ follows the announcement that the 6,300 Rohingya refugees residing at the camp will be repatriated and ‘resettled’ in Myanmar.
- As well as tougher access to the camp, our ground workers can no longer work legally in the country. Like many other organisations, we have been unable to secure NGO visas for our two field managers Daniel and Angus. Recent military checks in the area have resulted in other NGO workers being deported for working on tourist visas. Unfortunately, we cannot predict how long it will take us to secure working visas, and we cannot rely on the security of tourist visas any longer.
- We are trying hard to register as a charity in Bangladesh. However, applications to register as an international NGO can take over twelve months to process and require a hefty fee of at least £11,500 ($16,000) to be prepared and submitted. This means that for now, it is impossible for us and many other NGOs to plan operations of more than three months in length ahead of time. We must wait until we are securely registered to continue operating, as we need to be stable in order to aid others with stability.
This news is frustrating to bear when the crisis in Bangladesh remains so dire, and conditions promise to deteriorate for refugees and locals during the monsoon season.
The Myanmar military continue to threaten the 6,300 Rohingya residents within the camp as we speak, and the lack of access to the camp whilst refugees are denied basic access to aid with dignity, is heartbreaking.
We have done a lot since arriving at the camp in November, but so much aid is still required. We will continue to do all that we can to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, even if we must wait for now.
Keeping up with Katsikas
We’re still looking for volunteers to join the Katsikas Krew this March and April!
The residents of Katsikas camp need YOUR help at the camp’s popular free shop and boutique.
There’s lots of fun to be had, friends to be made, and aid to be given; so join us this sunny spring near in a beautiful area of Ioannina and help support refugees today.
If you’d like to help refugees in Greece, get in touch to find out more or to sign up.
Standing with Refugees Podcast
For this week’s ‘Standing with Refugees’ podcast, Paul spoke to one of our beloved volunteers, Bea Shrewsbury.
Bea first volunteered with us in Greece last year. An unorthodox way to celebrate her sixtieth birthday, Bea had decided to spend a month making a difference and standing with refugees. And it changed her life.
She is now a trustee, serial volunteer and champion fundraiser for Refugee Support Europe. In fact, our next fundraiser, ‘Walk with Refugees’, owes its conception to Bea.
The plight and status of the ‘refugee’ has been on Bea’s mind for most of her life. Her mother was a refugee in WWII. She came to England as part of the Kindertransport scheme from Germany just before WWII, and was everything that blind prejudice claims refugees are not – hardworking, motivated and determined to make the world a better place.
Bea was kind enough to share her mother’s story with us last year, and in this podcast, Bea shares the further, wonderful discoveries that she has made about the family who adopted her mother in the last year.
This is a poignant podcast that focuses on the beauty of charity as well of the ugliness of modern hostility. Thanks for chatting to us Bea. We’ll see you on the mountains next month!
Subscribe today to our weekly podcasts today so that you never miss one.
Walk this way
It’s just under two months until we take to the mountains of Macedonia – fleeing from the comforts of our daily lives as we walk the route that many refugees took as they fled from the horrors of their daily lives beyond the Greek border.
You can still register to join the 17 other volunteers marching with us to raise vital funds and awareness for refugees in Europe.
So pull your socks up, put on some sun cream, and sign up today to stomp with us in solidarity.
Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next time.
Please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering, making a donation, or just want to get in touch.