Ask Our Experts! - Part 2

Jul 5, 2018

2 min

6 Facts We Learned Working with Migrants and Refugees Around the World - Facts 3 and 4

Working with migrants and refugees is our business at Catholic Relief Services. CRS was founded in 1943 to assist refugees during World War II. Seventy-five years later, we are still coming to the aid of people escaping conflict, violence and natural disasters. While CRS doesn’t resettle refugees in the United States (these programs are run by the Catholic Church’s Migration and Refugee Service and Catholic Charities), our rich history has taught us valuable lessons on how to best help families fleeing crisis.

3. Support the Family. The family unit provides the primary support for children during the traumatic refugee experience -- whether it is witnessing violence or crossing a desert on foot. CRS focuses on keeping families together. This means housing a family together and using any services provided – from trauma counseling to income generation – to boost family cohesion.

Shannon Senefeld is a global development expert at CRS. She has published and presented extensively on international children’s issues and the importance of strengthened family care for children’s development. See her contact information at the bottom.

4. Kids Need School and Play. CRS is dedicated to keeping up children’s education, to provide stability and normality and give them hope for the future so they can be productive citizens wherever they end up. Kids need to be kids, too. Whether they are in a camp or any sort of migrant or refugee holding center they need a space to play.

Caroline Brennan is the Emergency Communications Director for Catholic Relief Services. In her role, she travels to and/or works in areas facing natural or man-made emergencies. See her contact information at the bottom.

The experts at Catholic Relief Services are available to help with any media coverage or insight that is required regarding this ongoing news story and issue that is continuing in America.

Simply click on any of their icons to arrange a time for an interview.


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If you’re covering the Canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero, consider Rick Jones, who’s spent his entire career working on poverty and social justice issues in El Salvador. Rick knows first-hand that Romero’s messages are as relevant and necessary as ever. As he puts it: Changing repressive policies, calling on gangs and organized criminal groups to stop the killing, denouncing human rights abuses and caring for the victims is as urgent today as when Romero was archbishop. Based in El Salvador for more than 20 years, Rick works closely with the Church in Latin America on justice issues, including migration, internal displacement and youth violence. He understands well the poverty, violence and political divisions that compelled Romero to defend human rights in the face of death threats and even opposition from his colleagues in the Church.   Oscar Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador until he was brutally assassinated on March 24, 1980 while celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Divine Providence cancer hospital where he lived. More than three decades later he was declared a martyr of the Church, killed out of hatred of the faith, and was beatified on May 23, 2015. Rick is available to speak with media regarding Romero’s legacy and what his sainthood represents for El Salvador and Latin America. To arrange an interview, simply click on his icon and we will be in touch immediately.  

1 min

Real solutions to the world’s refugee crisis

Just last week, the United States announced its lowest refugee cap in history. Meanwhile, for the fifth year in a row, globally, we have reached a record number of displaced people around the world whose displacement will likely last decades. Refugees are increasingly living outside of camps in middle to low-income countries where they struggle to get their footing. At the same time, the communities that host them are burdened by the influx of a needy population and the tension that can arise when aid bypasses local organizations. Recently, a panel hosted by Catholic Relief Services invited key industry leaders to discuss these challenges and how responding agencies, governments and donors can better support the local communities in ways that promote safety, dignity, and lasting solutions. Bill O'Keefe is the Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy with Catholic Relief Services and oversees the efforts to impact U.S. foreign policy in ways that reduce poverty overseas. Bill is available to speak to media regarding refugees and how those lasting solutions can be found. Simply click on his icon to arrange an interview. Source:

1 min

Populations at risk – how the whole planet is feeling and affected by climate change

The pounding heat of this summer seems like an anomaly, but according to experts, extreme heat waves may be a new reality. The global temperature is rising and the impact of that is being felt on every continent on earth. From Pakistan, to Japan to Mexico to Paris – the rolling waves of summer heat saw temperatures soar. While for some it’s a matter of comfort, the world’s poor and vulnerable populations are going to face serious risk and consequences. For instance, high heat and erratic rainfall can exacerbate drought, and prolonged drought can lead to severe food insecurity and in some cases, famine. Desperation can lead to conflict and worse. The global threat of climate change is very real and will touch every corner of the planet. There are a lot of questions to be answered and that’s where the experts from Catholic Relief Services can help. Lori Pearson leads Catholic Relief Services’ response to the massive impact climate change is having on global agriculture and especially on the lives of smallholder farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She also crafts policy and advocacy recommendations to climate change challenges and global hunger. Lori is available to speak with media regarding this topic – simply click on her icon to arrange an interview. Source:

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