Saturday 21 March 2020


Amid all the other tragedy and chaos happening around the world, it’s not unsurprising that the headline was buried that yesterday the US government not only curtailed the service commitments of its over seven thousand volunteers abroad in some of the most desperately poor places around the world—along with academics studying overseas as Fulbright scholars—and is repatriating them with little to none transit or logistical support, the Peace Corps (founded 1 March 1961 by the Kennedy administration to help the developing world and fight against Ugly American and neo-imperialism stereotypes) is making those displaced and uprooted (and potentially contagious) helpers redundant, dismissed without benefits and ineligible in most cases as their relationship with the agency does not rise to the level of employee and employer to apply for assistance and compensation. Not only are they being force to leave their adopted homes at a time of peril when the host communities that they serve needs them, they find themselves forcibly returned (those choosing to stay would face a field termination and have their official passport stripped from them) ahead of schedule to a country in dire crisis without a job or purpose when the prospects of securing either seems untenable.