Since the outbreak of violence in northern Mali in January 2012, thousands of Northern Malians have been forced to flee from their homes. Estimates of the number of refugees vary, but Doctors without Borders estimated that 260,000 had fled their homes as of April 2012. Refugee camps in Niger and Mauritania are crowded, and the living conditions are difficult. Much of the region suffered from drought over the last two years, increasing the difficulty of providing food and water for refugees.
We believe our project, to publish Where There Is No Doctor in Bambara, is important and, in the long term, will help contribute to the health and well-being of many Malians. However, it is overshadowed by the acute humanitarian crisis gripping the region. Many friends and colleagues have asked what they can do to help, so here are links to some good organizations.
How You Can Help
There are a number of reputable organizations at work in the region. My wife and I have given to the Red Cross and to Catholic Relief Services. Please consider donating to an organization you believe in. This story from CNN lists several agencies working in the region, and how to contribute. Their list includes Save the Children, Oxfam, World Vision, the UNHCR, and the World Food Program.
If you’re unsure about a charity, look them up on Charity Navigator. I always look for an organization that spends most of its revenue on “programs,” or money that is spent to help aid recipients. Here are some organizations working directly to help Malian refugees:
- Catholic Relief Services
- Doctors without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières).
- International Committee of the Red Cross (choose Niamey – covers Mali and Niger).
- Relief International