By Valerie Kurka
Approximately 220,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps guided by a mission of world peace and friendship. Through experiences in communities around the world, Peace Corps Volunteers develop cross-cultural skills, language skills, adaptability, and expertise. We had a unique opportunity to learn what it means to be part of a community -- to do something together, with others in mind. We also understand what it means to be part of a global community -- to know how actions in one place can impact people in another place. And we used our abilities, awareness, and privilege for positive change.
More than 65 million people have been forced from their homes as refugees, asylees, and displaced people, which is more than any time since the Second World War. These are people – ordinary people – impacted by circumstances out of their control. Nations and communities are directly affected today by insecurity and instability as result of this crisis. Both domestically and abroad, who better to serve these displaced populations and contribute positively to this crisis than the Peace Corps Community?
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers continue to promote Peace Corps values of public service, community development, cross-cultural understanding, and diversity and inclusion. We are driven by empathy, compassion, and knowledge. Currently, RPCVs in 161 NPCA affiliate groups unite around geography, countries of service, workplaces, and topical interests. RPCVs are already serving refugees as individuals or through NPCA affiliate groups and many RPCVs want to do more. There are numerous ways to band together, learn from each other, and achieve together. The Peace Corps community has the ability to make a positive difference in the refugee crisis. We can, and I believe we will.
NPCA functions to support affiliate groups and the important work of each — including the Peace Corps Community in Support of Refugees. With your support, NPCA can strengthen the organizational infrastructure required to connect the Peace Corps community.