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Rotary works to alleviate refugee crisis

The statistics are staggering. More than 28,000 people are uprooted from their homes each day as a result of war, oppression and poverty. That’s nearly 20 people per minute. By the end of 2016, an unprecedented 68.5 million people, from West Africa to South Asia, have been forcibly displaced, making it the world’s worst migrant crisis in history

The wave of migrants and refugees has overwhelmed the international community, putting a particular strain on neighboring countries and Europe. Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees with nearly 3 million. Pakistan is second. Germany is the only high-income country in the top-10 host nations, with about 700,000 refugees and asylum-seekers.

Over the next few weeks, I will review the works of various Rotary organizations, clubs and people around the world who are working to alleviate the impact of this threat to stability. This week’s example is Rotary member Pia Skarabis-Querfeld, a physician in Germany. She built a network of volunteer doctors to help thousands of refugees that have streamed into Berlin, Germany. In 2015, during the peak of the refugee influx into Germany, her nonprofit, “Medizin Hilft,” had more than 100 volunteers at its clinic. Her club, the Rotary Club of Berlin-Teirgarten, sponsored a Rotary global grant of $160,000 to fund the project through March 2018. Also in Germany, the Rotary Club of Lemgo-Sternberg, provided resources to train 60 volunteers to teach German to about 600 refugees.

Stay tuned for more examples of Rotarians around the world working to make their home a better place.