We go to difficult-to-reach places. Many times these are areas of heavy conflict where people have been displaced from their homes. Due to poor security and the difficulty in reaching them, these neglected people receive no help. They are extremely vulnerable, but are just as valuable as anyone else. They deserve our best.
We created "The 5" to bring a stronger focus on the diseases and conditions that are most likely to exist and cause the greatest amount of deaths among displaced populations. We strive to prevent and effectively treat these diseases. "The 5" are cholera, dysentery, malaria, pneumonia and malnutrition.
Many times, we need a structure to create a true refuge among the people we serve. Local clinics are a way for us to train and treat at the same time, while also saving lives. Building a structure is usually expensive and sometimes unwise in insecure settings. Therefore we use old buildings or whatever else we can find to provide aid to the displaced right where they are.
Conflict will often displace people, and will displace anyone working with those people. GRI trains refugees themselves to use first-rate medical skills while moving with their population, preventing illness and treating disease. Education cannot be taken away by bullets or bombs.
HOPE & HEALING
War has a terrible effect on the mental, physical and spiritual health of people. Understanding that, GRI integrates all three aspects into everything we do. We have learned that without investing in complete care among displaced people, they will never truly be healthy.
The Global Refuge Artisan program employs refugees and internally displaced people. Our goal is to provide livelihoods to help the displaced thrive. We have seen the ability to work restore a sense of dignity and purpose. Job creation and training in marketable skills are used to make becoming self-sufficient a possibility. Having a way to earn income also frees artisans to become less dependent on the aid system.
How it all started
In the summer of 2001, a group of 25 people consisting of students, our family, doctors, nurses, a pilot, and an accountant, all armed with medical supplies and hearts to serve, headed off to Thailand in hopes of finding our way into Burma. It is amazing to see the hope you can bring when you show up in a conflict area with medicine and food and work alongside victims who, to no fault of their own, are sick, desperate, lonely, and forgotten.
The down side of all this is that once you see the effects of war on a population, and tools of war too despicable to even discuss, you then have the responsibility to make a decision: to either be a part of the solution, or ignore what you've seen and harden your heart towards the desperation. Regardless of which decision you make, your life will never be the same.
As a result, Global Refuge was born.
— Brian McNeely, GRI Founder
“Either be a part of the solution, or ignore what you've seen and harden your heart towards the desperation. Regardless of which decision you make, your life will never be the same.”