Science, Tech & Environment

Aid report

The phones have been ringing off the hook at this office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This woman answers all the calls at the Unitarian Universalist Services Committee, UUSC for short, an aid agency and human rights advocacy group associated with the Unitarian Church. The situation in Burma is on the minds of many Americans wanting to help, and people want to know how groups like UUSC can respond to the crisis at all with the limitations of the military government there. The woman says most people have no idea how aid groups really work. The UUSC has a practical gameplan: it partners with local groups in Burma, so it is wiring funds to its partners on the ground there, but the earthquake in China is complicating matters. The President of the UUSC says within 48 hours of every disaster they assess the situation. He knows his group will not be able to work directly with the Burmese government. The UUSC's dual mission of distributing aid and advocating for social justice prevent the UUSC's partners in Burma can't advertise where they get their funding from.

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