19 Sep 2019
Two years ago, Myanmar’s military launched a violent crackdown against the Muslim Rohingya population.
Last week, local regulators compounded the Rohingya's sense of isolation by ordering a halt to all cellphone service in the area of their camps.
Imagine that your own government has burned your villages into the ground, attempted to kill you, and forced 750,000 of your people to flee for their lives. Imagine the country you fled to trying to send you back. Imagine the tension and dread you would feel with your phone service cut off, with no way to contact those important to you. This is the experience of the Rohingya refugee population currently languishing in Bangladesh.
Our contact in Bangladesh has reported that the blackout is stoking worry as relatives are not able contact one another between camps, in Myanmar, or abroad.
"The Rohingya are now a people of nowhere," the Washington Post recently wrote. "They shouldn’t be abandoned."
As human beings, we're predisposed to care most about people closer to home, who look most like us and whose plight we can most easily imagine.
Unfortunately, this means that while we've seen an exciting response to our fundraisers for disasters like Hurricane Dorian and the US immigration crisis, our fundraising goals for Rohingya aid have been much more difficult to reach. We now face the unpleasant reality that Rohingya needs have taken a back seat to U.S.-based appeals.
We will not give up on the Rohingya. Despite the challenges, we will continue to support the refugees through this appeal. However, our ability to do so depends on the response of humanists in the next few weeks.
Our beneficiary for this crisis is ActionAid USA, chosen for their ability to respond to monsoon-related floods in the Bangladesh camps. The monsoons may be over, but the refugees there still face immense challenges from the disaster, including a devastated water and sewer infrastructure. ActionAid's work also includes workshops intended to curb abuse and exploitation of Rohingya women, to make them less vulnerable during the next emergency.
We hope you will not abandon the Rohingya either. If you are able, please help us keep this fundraiser open, and give the Rohingya the resources they need to rebuild.
*The Humanist Disaster Recovery program is sustained through a partnership between Foundation Beyond Belief and the American Humanist Association (AHA). We thank AHA for their generous support of our efforts.
Photos courtesty of Ro Yassin AbdumonabBy FBB
17 Sep 2019
13 Sep 2019
A belated congratulations to Tri-State Freethinkers in Kentucky, which recently became the first Beyond Belief Network (BBN) team to hit "confetti" status by organizing over 10 service events in a year!
Apparently, 10 events in a year is a drop in the bucket for this very active group. Here's a little bit of information about the group from its organizers:
Tri-State Freethinkers was founded in Dec 2012 by Jim and Chrissy Helton, with the mission of serving our communities and fighting for equality and the seperation of church and state. We advocate for the LGBTQ, women's care and women's rights. We fight for proper sex education in our school systems. Our community service is amazing— we do over 50 community service projects each year. When equality is under attack The Tri-State Freethinkers show up! We love and are very proud to be an associate for the BBN Network!
We're very proud as well. Way to go and thank you so much for your service to the community this year!
Check out a brief gallery of these compassionate freethinkers hard at work:
They also have recorded many fascinating lectures, protests, and educational presentations on their Youtube account here!By FBB