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refugee items
December 10, 2014 : OUL Students Donate Supplies to Central Ohio Refugees
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager


Lancaster – Students from Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington took the lessons they learned during International Education Week and helped the refugee community in central Ohio.  The theme for OUL’s International Education Week in November was “Safe Haven: Refuge in Ohio.” Students had the opportunity to learn about refugees and different cultures that have come into central Ohio from places like Rwanda and Somalia. OUL students then decided to conduct a supply drive on campus for refugees in need.
“Students at OUL are very generous and always step up to assist those in need,” said OUL Development Director Mandi Custer. “When they heard what the refugees go through when they first get to Ohio, our students wanted to do what they could to help.”
Lambda Pi Eta, a student organization made up of communications students at OUL, conducted the supply drive.  Boxes were located around campus with a list of supplies needed.  The supplies included items like cleaning products and school supplies.
Last week, all the items collected were donated to a Columbus-based organization called Refugee Women in Action (RWIA). OUL students donated items like coats, diapers, and clothing, as well as school supplies, toys and cleaning products.
RWIA is a non-profit that empowers and assists refugee women and their families from the countries of Rwanda, Burundi, and the Republic of Congo. In the 1990s, a civil war and genocide took place in Rwanda.  Several ethnic groups at the time were fighting for control.  According to the United Human Rights Council, the Rwandan genocide resulted from the conscious choice of the elite to promote hatred and fear to keep itself in power.
According to RWIA, Columbus, Ohio has become the asylum to more than 150 refugee Rwandan, Congolese, and Burundi women and their families. When they arrive in Central Ohio, most refuges do not speak English, are unfamiliar with American customs, and after years of living in refugee camps are inexperienced with the simplest workings of their new homes. They need instruction for tasks such as: grocery shopping, and use of appliances such as, washing machines, vacuums and ovens.