On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Malteser International Americas and the Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations took center stage by hosting a defining panel on the Refugee Crisis at the United Nations, during the 61st Commission on the Status of Women. The panel, “Women Caught in the Global Refugee Crisis: Finding Hope and Opportunity in Despair” brought together 200 attendees to learn from leaders across the humanitarian spectrum, become educated on combined global humanitarian relief efforts, and discover Malteser International’s role in empowering women in their Cash-for-Work program for refugee women in the Middle East. To bring the camp to the people in the room, and to present the exceptional work of Malteser International and the Order of Malta, the film “Seeds of Hope: Fatima”, was shown which featured Fatima, a 25 year old refugee and mother, who is employed at Malteser International’s Cash-for-Work program.
Providing opening remarks were Ambassador Oscar R. de Rojas, Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta and Edward J. Delaney, Vice-President, Malteser International Americas. The distinguished panel of speakers represented the entire spectrum of humanitarian partners, including Malteser International Americas’ Executive Director, Ravi Tripptrap, Ninette Kelley from UNHCR, Ambassador Odo Tevi of Vanuatu, Ilario Schettino of the Permanent Observer Mission of Italy, and James Wiley, a refugee and counter-trafficking expert. Moderating the panel was Deb O'Hara-Rusckowski, a Dame with the American Association and a Delegate to the United Nations for the Order of Malta.
In the midst of the dire refugee crisis affecting 65 million people across the globe and its devastating consequences, relief and aid are paramount and deserve the utmost immediacy, however during the 61st Commission on the Status of Women, it was imperative to highlight how female refugees are being empowered amid this tragic crisis. Ninette Kelley, Director of the NY office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said, “There are many wonderful things happening in the world and refugees are at the center of it.”
And, that was seen in Malteser International’s most distinguished panelist, Amal, a refugee from Sudan. Amal captivated the audience as she shared her harrowing experience fleeing from her homeland with her family for fear of death. She and her family escaped Sudan and settled in the United States, after her husband was kidnapped, beaten, and left for dead. Amal has been learning English, working at the local Whole Foods, and furthering her education and career as a professional baker.
Here is a radio interview of Malteser International Americas’ Executive Director, Ravi Tripptrap and Deb O'Hara-Rusckowski, a Dame with the American Association and a Delegate to the United Nations.