World Relief’s Jennifer Foy talks about the transition from Trump to Biden

Posted on: November 19, 2020 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Local aid and development workers in the US

World Relief’s Jennifer Foy talks about the transition from Trump to Biden   From Trump to Biden The US Presidential race has now been called, and this means many policy changes given that ideological contrasts between Trump and Biden are deep and profound. This change in US administrations will touch most aspects of the humanitarian sector, from WHO membership, the Paris Agreements, and US support for humanitarian aid. One of my first thoughts when I began reading about the Biden administration goals regarding policies related to immigration and refugee flow into the United States was how these changes would impact the nine resettlement partner INGOs that work with the US State Department and UNHCR. Since the passage of the Refugee Act in 1980 the United States has admitted more than 3 million refugees. The nine resettlement organizations are responsible for the hard work of processing, placement, and settlement of all refugees…

Read More

The humanitarian imperative as seen in the flow of remittances

Posted on: July 15, 2020 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: General posts on the humanitarian aid industry, Local aid and development workers in the US

  Remittances as part of the humanitarian ecosystem Critically important for every 1 in 7 people on Earth A very high percentage of refugees and immigrants now living in the minority world (aka ‘Global North’) regularly send money back ‘home’ to family and friends they left behind. These funds, typically in small amounts and sent every month, are mostly used for health care, living expenses, school fees, and other necessities.  The term for this transfer of funds is ‘remittances’. I make a point of defining this term because in conversations with both my students and with even generally well informed friends and colleagues I have found that they know little to nothing about the fact that remittances exist and, more importantly, how critical they are to the alleviation of poverty in the developing world. Here are a few relevant data points about remittances. According to the World Bank in 2019…

Read More

The impact of the Trump Executive Order On Immigration: an interview with Jennifer Foy

Posted on: February 3, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Local aid and development workers in the US

[Note:  Read here my interview with Marlene Myers, NC State Refugee Coordinator. These posts are part of my continuing research on local aid workers.] UPDATE:  The situation regarding the Executive Order On Immigration remains extraordinarily fluid on many fronts.  Wednesday World Vision issued a press release that was published as a full page ad in the Washington Post. The title, “Evangelical Leaders from All 50 States Urge President Trump to Reconsider Reduction in Refugee Resettlment” says it all. The impact of the Trump Executive Order On Immigration:  an interview with aid worker Jennifer Foy One basic sociological truism is that everything is connected to everything else, and, increasingly, what happens in one part of the world has ripple effects around the globe. The bigger the stone, the more far reaching the ripples.  Impact meant for a contained target almost certainly has ramifications far beyond the prime intent. And then came President Trump adding a whole new dimension of…

Read More

Aid workers are tired and concerned, but not cowed

Posted on: January 26, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Local aid and development workers in the US

Being an aid worker in the age of Trump The toll of dealing with an impending existential crisis Today I had the pleasure of spending a couple precious hours with Jennifer Foy, the executive director of World Relief for the Winston-Salem/High Point offices in North Carolina. The job of her staff is to facilitate the processing and support of refugees coming into the state from placed like Cuba, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and elsewhere. It will take a while to put together my notes and do a follow up with her, so the full report of our discussion will come in several days. We began the chat in her office commiserating about the news of the day, shared stories of how the last couple weeks were utterly exhausting and Trump-news  dominated.  She observed that she and her staff were having a hard time focusing and were spending more time on social media…

Read More

An embrace

Posted on: January 1, 2017 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Local aid and development workers in the US

Embracing a development worker On this New Years Day I got up early before the family. After making my coffee I immediately settled into reading a book recommended by my wife and 12 year old daughter, a book that came as a Christmas present just a week ago. My wife is an amazing mother and constantly challenges our children to read and explore the world, and the choice of Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water was made easy because it had been both on the New York Times best seller list and honored by the Newberry Award committee. The book tells two stories that connect for the reader as they read the final pages. One story is of a young girl -just as countless other young girls around the world- who grew up taking long walks to fetch water, the other about a “Lost Boy” who comes of age in refugee camps…

Read More

Interview with ‘local aid worker’ Marlene Myers

Posted on: December 26, 2016 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Local aid and development workers in the US

Interview with Marlene Myers, North Carolina State Refugee Coordinator Refugees in North Carolina give back Amid a global rise in zenophobia, recent news stories from the US indicate increased resistance to accepting migrants and refugees, especially in the Southeast. Perpetuation of stereotypes and misinformation fuels much of this sentiment.  What most people don’t know -some inside but mostly outside the aid sector, especially here in the United States- is that refugees almost immediately give back both internationally and in their local communities.  Most become tax paying, fully functional contributors to their new home communities in an astoundingly short number of months, giving back in large measure. Refugees overcome seemingly endless obstacles to establish a meaningful new life in their host nations and, typically, are amazingly resilient and resourceful people who, arguably, represent the best of humanity. Listen here for Marlene’s voice describing refugee contributions. One way they give back is by sending money…

Read More

Beyond Aid Worker Voices: another side of aid work

Posted on: September 12, 2016 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Local aid and development workers in the US

Aid Worker Voices, the book, coming VERY soon Proof copies coming tomorrow, then -hopefully- the public release of Aid Worker Voices!  I will put ordering information here on the blog in the next day or so.  In the meantime….   Another side of aid work Last Friday I spent the day helping a colleague work on a documentary about refugee families who are being assisted by a big box NGO here in central North Carolina.  We visited a community garden in its first year of being planted and tended by locally settled refugees from DRC, Burma, Cambodia and beyond. The vegetables, being cultivated in a field once dominated by kudzu, included corn, peppers, egg plant, okra, beans and other staple foods enough to sustain many families.  The land is owned by the NGO and will soon have a proper fence, access to water, power, a tool storage facility, and cleared space for community gatherings.  That…

Read More