BENEFITING: Save the Children
ORGANIZER: Save the Children
EVENT DATE: Feb 23, 2017
July 2016 -- Dear family and friends, Many of you know that I have been passionate about supporting immigrants and refugees since my early high school years -- volunteering as a tutor in multiple ESOL classrooms, running a winter clothing drive for newly arrived families in MN, competing in speech competitions on topics such as the Dream Act, and writing my senior capstone project on Hispanic immigration in the Twin Cities area.
Fast forward ten years, and there's no denying that forced migration has compounded to an unprecedented and seemingly intractable problem. The devastating conflict in Syria has put an international spotlight on the plight of refugees worldwide, while almost masking the displacement crises in other parts of the world like Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Burundi, Myanmar, Colombia, Ukraine, and so many others. The UNHCR reports 65 MILLION people forcibly displaced from their homes in 2016* -- a number equivalent to 1 in 5 American people -- leaving behind their relatives, neighbors, languages, traditions, homes, belongings, careers, and financial assets for a dangerous gamble toward safety for their families in places where they have no expectation of being welcomed.**
Even more devastating is that today children under the age of 18 make up over 50% of all refugees, and the majority of these children are missing out on years of primary and especially secondary education, making them more susceptible to radicalization, trafficking, and child marriage, not to mention destitute poverty. Without an opportunity to develop foundational skills in reading, writing, and math, refugee children are denied any chance for a better future. An entire generation could be limited in their ability to rebuild their lives and their communities post-conflict.
There's no denying the scale and complexity of this massive global crisis, but I refuse to believe that there is nothing we can do. Save the Children is one of the leading international charities spearheading emergency response efforts in besieged conflict areas, providing critical needs and services to families seeking refuge in temporary settlements, and preparing for the long-term needs of displaced children, including quality education, psychosocial support, and legal protection and advocacy. Save the Children is an organization that I deeply admire, and hope to work for someday through BCG's social impact partnership.
If you, like me, have ever seen a sobering image or statistic on the refugee crisis and felt useless as to how you could possibly make a difference, I would like to invite you to contribute to my half-marathon fundraiser to support Save the Children. No amount is too small -- I believe the spirit of giving and choosing to stand in solidarity is worthwhile no matter whether you are able to give $1 or $100. (No doubt, running 13.1 miles -- even for a reluctant racer like me -- pales in comparison to the inconceivable hurdles the world's displaced people have faced.)
Your generosity will show refugee children and their families that people around the world have not forgotten them, and that we are committed to responding, in the words of Pope Francis, "in a way worthy of our common humanity" (Greece, April 2016). Thank you in advance for your contribution to this important cause.
Many employers have a donation-matching program (especially during the holiday season), so please don't forget to ask your company to match your contribution! Your donations through this page go directly to Save the Children 501(c)(3) and are fully tax-deductible, with an official receipt sent to your email. Feel free reach out to me with any questions about the Disney half-marathon / Save the Children, or if you'd like to learn more about the refugee crisis.
Favorite links to learn more:
- Save the Children's "Most Shocking 'Second In A Day'" video
- Save the Children's "Forced to Flee: Inside the 21st largest country"
- Page on BCG's partnership with Save the Children
- UNHCR's "Forced displacement hits a record high" video (scroll down)
- "Salaam Neighbor" documentary trailer (full version on Netflix)
*This 65M number only includes those fleeing from imminent threats of violence and personal safety, and does not even begin to account for the numbers who migrate in search of better livelihood and economic opportunity for their families.
**Countries like Lebanon are already bursting at the seams with over 1 million Syrian refugees in a population of 4 million, while the US has taken in just 10,000 Syrians this year, and countries like Kenya, Greece, and France are in the process of closing major refugee settlements in Dadaab, Idomeni, and Calais.