Wednesday, May 20, 2009

feeling stymied and sad

So, here's the deal.
Following UNHCR on twitter.
Rec'd tweet this am, that:"UNHCR is urgently seeking shade cloth and poles to construct sun screens in #Pakistan as part of a summerization program."
So I tweeted back: "@Refugees send a contact e-mail and i will forward request to US shade manufacturers and ask for donation."
Then I googled shade screen manufacturers and found a handful.
@Refugees send me contact info at USA for UNHCR.
I tweeted back: "@Refugees rec'd contact info. Will ask for in-kind donations for shades from manufacts. could use photos/stories to demo the need for them"
@Refugees tweeted this link to me almost immediately: pakistan photos
I did a quick google cram here and here and here to educate myself, wrote a few talking points and called these guys.
Had a great convo with a dude named Joe who was willing to consider an in-kind donation to UNHCR for the displaced families in Pakistan.  Told him I would get back to him with the hows.  Figured there were plenty more shade manufacturers I could hit up as well.
Still hadn't heard from USA for UNHCR folks so I called them.
VERY disheartening.
Bottom line: "The logistics of in-kind donations are too hard.  That's why we ask for money."
I said, "but some folks don't have money but they have stuff sitting in warehouses."
They said. "Sorry, that's the way it works."
She didn't even ask me my name.   
I want to make clear that the folls I spoke to were the independent non-profit based in the US to support the UNHCR.  They were NOT official UNHCR folks.  Those folks have offices in Geneva -- and it was their tweet [and from their on-the ground folks in Pakistan] that I originally heard from and was trying to help.
SO frustrating.  It's like, there are planes, right?  And for freak's sake - Hillary Clinton this week called for americans to use their cell phones to donate $5 toward the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan.  And these folks are being displaced because the Pakistani gov't is fighting the Taliban and other extremist/terrorist groups at our request...  
So now I have to call Joe back and tell him not to bother 'cause we can't get the freakin' sun shade material to the families sitting in 100 degree plus sun homeless in Pakistan.

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