The Evacuee Support Network (ESN) was founded in the 1980s by a group of AAFSW members who were concerned about the rising number of family members who were being evacuated from posts around the world for a variety of reasons.
Since that time, the ESN has met over 1,000 evacuees to the Washington, DC area and assisted them in their journeys – whether this meant helping them change planes with an armload of kids, putting them in a taxi to a local hotel, or personally transporting them their destination.
Over the years, ESN volunteers have babysat, offered advice on housing, schools and hotels, and been friends to frazzled evacuees who are reeling with the enormity of what they are going through. ESN volunteers have lent winter coats, a stroller or two, and sent e-mails for the evacuees to a spouse back at post to let them know all have arrived safely.
The volunteers of the ESN can provide the evacuee with information about allowances and lend a helping hand with paperwork when needed. We can also help Foreign Service family members who are evacuated to the Washington, DC area for medical reasons with transportation and other needs.
In 2011, volunteers supported more than 100 families evacuated from Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries during the “Arab Spring.” Volunteers were also active during the Haitian earthquake of 2010. You never know what or when the next evacuation will be; there is no “typical” year.
Many of the ESN volunteers have been evacuated themselves and share a special kinship with the evacuees, while others simply want to help. Whatever the reason, all AAFSW members are invited to join the Evacuee Support Network and lend a helping hand. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.