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Refugee Voices: “We are here, we are afraid, and we need help.”

These photos were taken in 2019. All iACT programs have currently been suspended. 

COVID-19, having broken its way into nearly every country, has become a harsh reality for us all. As many of us here in the United States have been adjusting to a life of social distancing, we at iACT immediately thought of our refugee friends living in some of the most remote and hard-to-reach areas across the globe. Were they getting accurate information? Were they getting any information? In an attempt to find out how these communities are doing, we asked the experts on the ground–the refugee leaders themselves living in refugee sites across Chad, Cameroon, Tanzania, and Greece.

One of the questions we asked was, “Is there a message you would like to share with other people around the world?”

In nearly every response there were two unifying messages:

We are here, we are afraid, and “we need help.”

Many of the leaders pointed out the fact they have been lacking adequate food distribution for some time. They stressed the lack of clear information from local NGO’s on the ground and reported that not everyone has access to clean water and soap. In the words of one refugee leader in Chad, “refugees are living trouble life, between the fear of coronavirus, and the crisis of sustenance in the camp.”

We are one–the virus knows no difference between me and you. Let’s work together.

Refugee leaders in Chad and Greece call on “all people [to] stand up to fight against this disease.” They recognize that this pandemic “makes us understand that we are equal whatever your situation or status”; “we are all responsible.”

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