We are currently matching volunteers to refugee families from Eritrea and here is why.
Eritrea remains a dictatorship that poses authoritarian rule with strict limitations on its people. To start, the entire population is forcibly conscripted into national service, though the conscription term has been limited to 18-months, many individuals are forced to serve longer. The UN commissions declared this conscription as enslavement.
Conscripts have long been subject to inhuman and degrading punishment, including torture. Although the pay was increased in recent years, it remains nominal and insufficient to support a family, especially as such increases are offset by higher deductions for food.
Decades of forced conscription have created a teaching corps that are lacking qualifications and motivation. Students are unmotivated by poor teaching and their belief that education has little benefit due to the inability to further their education.
Also, the government has not allowed private press since is dissolution in 2001, nor has it permitted nongovernmental organizations. This has left the citizens of Eritrea with the inability to freely communicate and gather, for fear of imprisonment.
The government fails to recognize all but four religious groups: Sunni Islam, Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Evangelical (Lutheran) churches. Cases of imprisonment, violent raids and disappearances have been documented due to individuals practicing other religions.
In 2017, Eritreans represented the ninth-largest refugee population in the world with 486,200 people forcibly displaced. The dangers and costs are extremely high for those who escape seeking refuge. Many surrounding countries reject these individuals and force them to leave, unfortunately, these people have nowhere to go and are often kidnapped and held for ransom.
After surviving life in Eritrea and the long, risky voyage to refuge, they need support.
Many refugee families who arrive in Calgary are desperately in need of a Canadian friend.
Right now, we are facing a shortage of individuals or families who can mentor and guide them as they settle in this new environment.
These friendships will change these families lives and they will also change yours.
To volunteer or for more information contact: Beata Lutaba at firstname.lastname@example.org | 403. 290.5752
Photo credit to Y. Negusse