Why not combine some philanthropy with your Halloween this year?
Dress up like a doctor, nurse, or logistician (you’ll most likely win the costume contest with this one) and visit the Doctors Without Borders’ “Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City.”
The Nobel Peace Prize-winning international aid organization Doctors Without Borders/MÈdecins Sans FrontiËres will set up an 8,000-square-foot interactive outdoor tent in Parking Lot 1 north of the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica from Friday, October 31st through Sunday, November 2nd.
The tent will re-create an actual refugee camp using the same materials which are used in the field.
Experienced aid workers (including logisticians) will conduct tours of the facility while explaining the hardships and challenges of building shelter, finding food and clean water, and handling waste disposal. All critical elements of survival for refugees.
The purpose of the exhibit is to bring heightened public awareness to the plight of the 42 million refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs) worldwide.
“In the last year, longstanding armed conflicts in places such as Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan have worsened, with violence driving increasing numbers from their homes and livelihoods,” says Nicolas de Torrente, executive director of the organization.
The goal of the tent is to allow the public to imagine themselves as refugees.
“When people are forcibly displaced it is not just the violence that causes harm,” says de Torrente. “Having no access to food, clean water, latrines, adequate shelter or medical care is what makes people vulnerable to epidemic outbreaks and malnutrition. And they face the added burden of trauma, fear and uncertainty about their future.
“We hope that this exhibit will be one way to raise awareness about their plight and the need for concrete action to alleviate it.”
To raise such awareness, aid workers will lead guests through a cholera treatment center, a health clinic, emergency refugee housing and nutrition and vaccination tents.
Aid workers will also relay their personal experiences from their time in the field.
So, while we’re dressing up and eating candy this weekend, as every good American should, why not include a little time at the beach to empathize with those less fortunate?
The wheelchair-accessible event is in the parking lot just north of the pier. It is free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5:30 pm Friday, October 31st, through Sunday, November 2nd.
Information, (800) 490-0773, www.doctorswithoutborders.org/.