“Our response to the plight of refugees in the coming year will be the measure of our humanity.” — Angelina Jolie

A 2019 Challenge!

The number of refugees worldwide has climbed for six consecutive years.  Over sixty-eight million people are now displaced by violence and persecution equal to a fifth of America’s population.  Humanitarian support is chronically underfunded. The answer is not to adopt harsh unilateral policies that punish displaced persons nor is it to open borders to everyone who comes knocking…although the Bible tells us to received the weak, orphaned, widowed, and refugee.  We must rather address the conflicts that drive them from their homes. 

Eighty five percent of all refugees live in low- and middle-income countries.  People are displaced by violence within their own countries.  Forced to flee, most of them seek refuge in the safest nearby country. Less than one percent are resettled.  The world’s poorest countries are bearing the brunt of the burden.   Unless and until we all do a better job of sharing responsibility, the tensions between the wealthy and poorer countries will increase. 

Present resources required to feed, house, provide clean and safe water far outstrip the need.  The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) receive about a third of their budgeted needs worldwide. 

As many as two thirds of all the refugees under the UNHCR’s mandate come from seven countries; Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, Somalia, Yemen, and the Congo.  The Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala do not even make the list.  What if we took just one percent of our military budget of roughly 700 Billion dollars, or the amount of funds that the Pentagon cannot presently account for in their recent audit, hundreds of millions of dollars, and helped establish conditions in one country where people would return home?

I am a citizen of a country that has the resources.  It does not have the leadership to make it happen and I bear some responsibility for that, as does every other citizen.  Our company and non-profit arm, ConnectForWater.org, have just partnered with two other organizations to provide two thousand water filters to Yemen where thousands of citizens have lost their lives, water infrastructure destroyed, and where Cholera is rampant.  Rex and Brenda Brewer are friends from my home church.  They have taken it upon themselves to respond to refugees living and struggling in Mozambique.  Other friends, from Schenectady, New York, took it upon themselves to be champions and collect funds responding to the hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico. 

I would love to talk to you about how you could be engaged. 

Best…Always,  Lou

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