Red Cross connects refugees with family members left behind – Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida 2021-09-17 12:50:27 –

Tucson, Arizona — When refugees come to the United States, they are often forced to leave their loved ones behind. The painful reality faced by thousands of refugees to escape wars and natural disasters.

When these refugees arrive in the United States, they can spend months or years on their own. But thanks to a special team run by the Red Cross, these refugees now have the opportunity to reunite with those who they thought were lost forever.

Elissa Maish has been working with the Red Cross for years to reunite families through this program. That’s how she met Fidere, a former refugee. The two are currently working together in hundreds of cases annually.

This is a complex process that takes years, but begins when Maish receives a call from a refugee in need of help. She begins her search by collecting information about the loved ones the refugees are looking for, where they were last seen, and contacts that may help in the refugee’s home country.

When she gets some information, she gives it to Red Cross volunteers stationed around the world.

“They actually go out to these remote villages, and they actually look like detectives, as you know, ask where these people went.” Said Maish.

This job involves serious risks. Volunteers often have to enter the war zone in an attempt to find a missing family member.

“Many volunteers died of violence in carrying out their mission,” Maish said. “It’s very annoying, but it’s worth it.”

The reward for these missions is that Fidere had a hard time putting it into words. He fled his home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo many years ago, but had to leave the whole family behind.

“You see your loved ones killed and decapitated, and they lose everything. People are no longer people,” Fidere said.

When he started a new life in Arizona, he didn’t know where his father was. He turned to Restoring Family Links almost 10 years ago.

“When you are a refugee and you don’t have a family, you don’t feel the rationale. You might have everything people get in a happy country like the United States, but you don’t have a family.” Fidere said. “I felt I couldn’t take it alone here anymore.”

For almost a year, Meish sent a search team across Africa to seek Fidere’s father from village to village.

“He literally thought his family was gone,” Maish said.

But finally, after some leads and dead ends, the search paid off. Fidere’s father was alive.

Fidere describes the moment he first heard his father’s voice: I’m crying very much. “

“He was everything to me. I went to school thanks to him. He was the first person to write me a letter requesting a college scholarship. He was the first person I didn’t know I knew too much about my story. There were many things I wasn’t told when I was young and he kept it, so losing such a person is for me It was to lose the library, “said his father Fidere.

Now his whole world just makes a phone call. Fidere and his dad talk several times a week. Mobile phone services are still unreliable, but Fidere is relieved to have the option to make a call. Meish now also knows Fidere’s father.

Fidere’s newly discovered happiness only energizes him to work harder to help refugees as he does.

“It will be very good for us to help those people really reconnect to their family and get all the support we can do.”

It is these moments and these tokens that Meish continues.

“The good news remains for you, but you are always working on the next case,” she said.

These two people know directly. They said it was this special aid that helped struggling refugees walk with one less burden, and it was an honor to be able to assist many.

“Refugees are very enthusiastic. Their goal is to find a job and become a productive member of our society. So everything we can do to be comprehensive, including them, is for the whole country. It will be better, “says Maish.

Click for more information on restoring Family Link. here.

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