Sunday, May 3, 2009

Angelina, Refugees, and Rensselaer

Those hoping to get close to Angelina Jolie during the "Salt" filming could take action to support her in her role as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency. The U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants (USCRI) site credits her founding support of the National Center for Refugee & Immigrant Children, which is seeking donations to help refugee children.

The Albany office of the USCRI seeks to raise awareness of and community support for refugees in Capital District, and is also need of volunteers and mentors.

Times-Union (3/1/09): Group needs help with increase of refugees
In 2009, the not-for-profit agency has maxed out its capacity and is in dire need of volunteers and donations to provide furniture, cooking supplies and other essentials that government subsidies don't cover for the steady wave of new arrivals.

A recent USCRI fundraiser is described in this article, along with an overview of the organization: Times-Union: Film details refugees' journey
"We accept refugees based on our capacity, the languages we have on staff and the communities that already exist," said Murphy. "There is already a large and strong Burmese community in Albany, so it makes sense for them to come here."
"People in refugee camps are just like you and me. They want to go home. But they can't, because they will be killed."
There has been some interesting news recently about the local community of refugees from Burma/Myanmar (I hope they find Rensselaer a welcome place):

Times-Union: A long way from streets paved with gold
Burmese immigrant finds life far from family and culture has its problems
Times Union: Prayers and water festival herald Burmese New Year
Abbot U Eithareya: Head monk at the Burmese Aungmyay Minglar Buddhist Monastery in Rensselaer. ... Community members pitched in to purchase a three-story house on Broadway in Rensselaer for a temple and monastery.
Times-Union: Spiritual path finds a new home (Backstory - 1/15/06)

Another great way to help out is this little educational foundation in Thailand, run by friends of my parents: The Brackett Refugee Education Fund (BREF).
We are an all volunteer organization, which strives to keep our overhead as low as possible so we can assure all of your donations go into the hands of those we serve.

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