These posts are from the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/124232241380059


Another moving story of flight from conflict:

I was fortunate to meet Rania Ali, a young Kurdish woman from Syria, at an event in Vienna last month. She won a Webby Award for her video, but was denied a visa to travel to NY to accept the award. She'll be in Paris this weekend to speak at the World Refugee Festival (we think it is on 22 June). Here's her story.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2017/aug/02/escape-from-syria-ranias-odyssey-video


 This "true" story that is incredibly inspiring was posted this morning by Tricia Restivo Saur on the FAWCO refugee network. I encourage you to take a moment to listen to it in honor of World Refugee Day today!
https://soundcloud.com/user-388134347/yusra-mardini-read-by-diana


AFP editor and Task Force member Beth O'Connell shared this June 7 article that includes a statistics update and a review of the migrant situation in Paris. The review matches what members of the Task Force have noticed within their individual networks of late.

Paris migrant camps: gone today, back tomorrow

Paris (France) 07 June 2018 17:50; AFP (Loïc VENNIN and Katy LEE)

Thirty-seven camps in three years and counting.

French authorities are on a mission to keep Paris free of makeshift migrant shelters but endless police operations to raze them - around one a month - have failed to stop new camps sprouting up. Men in white protective suits fanned out along the scenic Canal Saint-Martin this week, tearing down dozens of tents where hundreds of migrants had been sleeping for months. Grubby mattresses and sleeping bags were piled into skips during Monday's operation, as tourists looked on in what is billed as one of the most romantic spots in Paris. Authorities evicted 973 migrants from that camp and another, just a few days after clearing a similar number - mainly Sudanese, Somalians and Eritreans - from the sprawling Millenaire camp further up the canal.

July 2, 2018 the Refugee Task Force's dear friends, Association Pierre Claver, will enact the Racine tragedy, Britannicus, at the Théâtre des Mathurins. Members of our community will be even more enticed to witness this great endeavour after watching the trailer created by Luca Chiari: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6kvTzTgf6Q&feature=youtu.be

Tickets at https://www.weezevent.com/britannicus-pour-les-10-ans-de-pierre-claver

The trailer, created by Luca Chiari, follows Britannicus from its very first rehearsals in December. A documentary film in preparation, provisionally entitled Racine(s), questions how a 17th-century play can echo the past of an exiled person and participate in the shaping of a new cultural identity.

The AAWE Refugee Task Force has followed Ben and Diana's endeavours to help the migrants the encounter on the Paris streets and we will continue to support them in any way we can. The following article, written by Twila Bird and published on Their Story is Our Story website, elegantly presents the catalysing forces that launched Compassion Without Borders: https://tsosrefugees.org/stories/on-the-right-side-of-history

Diana is an exemplary human being and her son has taken up her baton with fervour. Bravo to this dynamic duo!

Photograph by Christophe Mortier (https://www.christophemortier.com/)

Interview of Natasha Freidus founder and CEO of NeedsList by Kenia Guimaraes a member of the AAWE Communitywide Refugee Task Force

What was your motive to create NeedsList and when it was created?

NeedsList was created post the 2015 refugee crises in Europe, by Natasha Freidus founder and CEO, to use technology to solve social problems is a continuation to her previous professional experience and most importantly she wanted to do more tangible work, managing the needs for refugees through donations, directs aids, and also investing in local economic growth.

What do you hope to accomplish?

There's Still Time to Study International Migration

This free online course offered by Sciences Po addresses the key issues raised by international migration, and assesses the trends of tomorrow. Readings are in English and videos in French with English subtitles. You can still sign up for the course, and join a small group of members who are already taking it. Please let Clara know if you sign up.

International Migrations: A global issue, e-course. Sign up for free here: https://fr.coursera.org/learn/international-migrations

The American Library in Paris has recently established a Scholarship Fund that provides no-cost memberships to the Library for eligible individuals and families, including those with official refugee status in France and Paris-based students based on merit and need. Members have access to the collection of 100,000 books and magazines, digital resources, research assistance, quiet and comfortable study spaces, and programs for kids, teens, and adults.

The Library is pleased to partner with the AAWE Community-wide Refugee Task Force and the Association Pierre Claver to help identify prospective scholarship recipients who will most benefit from our resources for their personal and professional endeavors.

For more information on how you can support the Library's Scholarship Fund, please contact External Relations Manager Pauline Lemasson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website at: www.americanlibraryinparis.org.

Dear Friends,

Desmond Tutu wrote "My humanity is yours, for we can only be human together." In Paris, our human condition is thrown off balance by the situation of people living in substandard conditions on our streets. Over the past few months, members of the AAWE Community-wide Refugee Task Force have found many ways to respond to these problems, by providing goods and services to the people on the street and working to educate the broader community on the realities that people are facing. These responses contribute to bettering the lives of our entire community.  It's a pleasure to be working in harmony with you all.

Since our last meeting on March 12, everyone has been on the move. For one thing, we have gotten bigger. Ann and I presented the Task Force's efforts at the FAWCO Interim Meeting in the The Hague where we met fifty women from FAWCO Member associations worldwide who enthusiastically joined our network. Welcome to our FAWCO Friends! A Facebook group has been established for exchanging techniques across clubs and linking associations and migrants across Europe. Following the conference in Holland, Catherine Keyes-Guichard took the Task Force presentation to The Skoll World Forum which is held in Oxford every Spring. The results of our participation at this high-impact event will be covered in the next issue of Connections.

The following is a selection of media that members of the task force have recently shared on our Facebook. press about the situation on the streets in Paris, a program which aims to help refugees access employment and the new government's asylum and immigration bill.

Situation for asylum seekers in Paris remains critical despite promises

This article was published on the website of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles. A study led by Refugee Rights Europe showed that a large majority of homeless asylum seekers suffered from mental health issues such as extreme paranoia under the pressure of uncertain futures and lack of protection for their belongings and their bodies.
https://www.ecre.org/op-ed-situation-for-asylum-seekers-in-paris-remains-critical-despite-promises/

Que contient le projet de loi asile-immigration ?

http://www.lemonde.fr/immigration-et-diversite/article/2018/01/11/que-contient-le-projet-de-loi-asile-immigration_5240339_1654200.html

To read and share more information concerning the refugee crisis in France and migration issues world-wide, join our group on Facebook: AAWE Community-wide Refugee Task Force at https://www.facebook.com/groups/124232241380059/

Tips for running your own sandwich making atelier for the homeless

By Carleen Pieper

Last fall, the American School of Paris [ASP] Upper School began an effort called ASPire to Serve, aimed at getting students directly involved in a hands-on effort to help those in need in our own Paris community. Through this initiative, groups of 8-10 students, parents, and faculty gather every Tuesday during the school lunch break to make 200 turkey and cheese sandwiches. The sandwiches are then delivered to Heather and Kelvin of Paris Refugee Ground Support, who deliver the sandwiches that same night to refugees and other people in need in Paris.


Since their first session in September, the ASP group has learned a lot about producing great numbers of sandwiches on a weekly basis with an ever-changing cast of volunteers.

If your group is interested in doing something similar, here are a few tips we can offer:

Compassion Without Borders needs your help!

Collection for homeless refugees through Needs list: https://needslist.co/compassion-without-borders
Collection through Amazon Wish List : http://amzn.eu/72e9a3N

By following either link, you can purchase tents, socks, hats and gloves at below market prices. Purchased donations will be delivered immediately to the association who send supplies on a nearly daily basis to the streets of Paris via Paris Refugee Ground Support. (150 sleeping bags were donated during the snowstorm)

Donations and volunteers needed at the Eglise St Bernard, 12 rue St Bruno, Paris 18e. :

  • Donate used men's clothing and new toiletries and undergarments for 300 homeless men who are fed and clothed through the Vestiaire at the Eglise Saint-Bernard. As usual donations of men's clothing in smaller sizes is preferred.
  • Volunteer at the Vestiaire and help go through, organize and distribute donated clothing.

Please contact Pedro for current needs, volunteer info and drop-off times, by phone or SMS: 0603028372

Serve breakfast at Porte de la Chapelle

The AAWE Community-wide Refugee Task Force was founded in 2016 in a spirit of generosity and a desire to enrich the lives of others while also enriching our own lives.

Today, the Task Force provides a forum for cross-organizational connections and information-sharing, allowing resources to be quickly identified to fill the evolving needs of those arriving from distant and often dangerous places to begin new lives in our community.

Participating Associations:

Association of American Women in Europe, Every Child is a Gem, Compassion Without Borders, Association Pierre Claver, American Library in Paris, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris, American Church in Paris, American Cathedral,  FAWCO.
We welcome connections from everyone, both individuals and representatives of associations.

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