Restore 2100: a Necessary Campaign
By Gabriel Stauring
Tomorrow we finally fly from N’djamena to eastern Chad and begin visiting refugee camps we first came to ten years ago. It is not a simple, one-sided story, but surprisingly, in some key areas, refugees are worse off today than they were when I first visited them. Nutrition is the most important, immediate issue they are confronting today.
This is why we are today launching the RESTORE 2100 campaign. During this campaign that will go for as long as needed, we are asking the international community, and in particular the U.S. Government, to immediately restore food rations to Darfuri refugees to the World Food Program minimum standard of 2100 calories per person, per day.
As the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported, refugees are now receiving approximately 800 calories, with very few options to make up the difference. Mothers are faced with the desperate need to find enough food for their children on a daily basis, once their monthly rations run out before half of the month has gone by.
Please join us in this campaign. You can LEARN more about refugee food insecurity, SIGN a petition asking our leaders to lead on restoring rations to the full 2100 calories, and if you can, GIVE to our program that will help improve the health and nutrition of the youngest and most affected.
And We’re off! Finally!
By Felicia Lee
In case anyone has been wondering what we’ve been eating since our arrival to Chad, I will tell you: other than the food and snacks that we’ve individually brought, we’ve been having a fusion of Chinese and Western breakfasts. It’s been an interesting experience for me, because I am of an ethnicity that is closely related to that which some would call “Chinese,” although I am not fully “Chinese.” It has been interesting being in a country which is completely foreign to me, and staying in a hotel that recalls many aspects of familiarity that would not feel as familiar and homey to me were I back at home in the States. The timing of our stay in this hotel adds to this experience, as well: we are in a place in which French and Mandarin Chinese are languages that serve us well (probably even better than English), and the other morning, I was watching F1 as it took place in the People’s Republic of China. This blend of European and Asian, and of Chinese and American (me), all being in the same place at the same time, confirms to me that I am where I should be.
Early tomorrow morning, before the sun rises, our team will be out in the lobby with all our bags, ready to get on the much-coveted (at least by humanitarians) flights out to the camps in eastern Chad.
I’m so excited.
I’ll finally be able to meet the kids in our Little Ripples program, and I”ll finally be able to hug the women coaching in our Darfur United Soccer Academy.
I’m also afraid.
I’ll finally be able to see firsthand what it looks like to live in a refugee camp, and I’ll finally be able to put faces to the names I’ve heard for so long. Stories of people that I’ve read so many times will come alive and merely be stories no longer.
I know that I will hurt along with these people I have yet to meet, even though I will never truly understand what it is they go through day after day.
At what point does empathy become too much empathy? At what point does having too much empathy render a person ineffective and cause him/her to lose sight of the big picture? There is a fine line between having compassion and having empathy, and I hope that when I start talking to Darfuri refugees for the first time in my life and begin walking alongside them in their struggles, I will know how to balance the two.
TAKE ACTION: RESTORE 2100
The petition to President Obama and UN Ambassador Samantha Power.
More information about food insecurity can be found on our virtual Refugee Rations report.
To support our Little Ripples’ efforts to improve children’s nutrition and health.