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Pilot School Construction Project for Refugee Children

In 1997, the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) committed its strong support to providing improved educational services for refugee children in Azerbaijan. We hosted President Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan in Washington, D.C. on several occasions, collected some $36,500 and donated these funds to Relief International (RI) and International Rescue Committee (IRC).

Thanks to this funding, RI and IRC have constructed 22 schools in refugee communities that have been identified as especially disadvantaged in the educational sector. The construction of these schools has had a direct impact on these communities by providing access to basic primary education for 718 refugee children.

We believe providing refugee children with educational opportunities will prevent them from becoming a lost generation and allow for their active participation in Azerbaijan's fast developing society. This will be a long-term investment in a nation, which once had a literacy rate of 98 percent. USACC Pilot School Construction Project for Refugee Children reconstructs more than a lost home; it promotes self-sufficiency in a dependent population and rebuilds a lost identity by fostering enlightenment and a sense of belonging.

We have successfully campaigned to focus the attention of the donor community on the importance of education among refugee children. Many of the USACC members have followed our footsteps and constructed additional schools in refugee camps. This year, we plan to adopt these schools by providing them with textbooks and other school supplies.

Bertling Logistics, a USACC member, has provided us with a warehouse in Houston, TX. Throughout the year, donors like you send textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils and any other school supplies to the warehouse. Bertling Logistics ships these supplies to Azerbaijan for free where IRC distributes them among refugee children. Our final goal is to launch a Refugee Scholarship Fund at a major American university.

Come and join us. Go through your drawers. Look on your bookshelves. For a pen and a notebook you may have forgotten somewhere can allow a kid in Azerbaijan to learn how to write. Give a chance to more than a few. Help to enlighten Azerbaijani kids. Allow young Azerbaijanis to become proud citizens of their country.

Pack a bundle and mail it directly to USACC/Bertling warehouse at:

15500 Vickery Drive, Houston, TX 77032.

Note "USACC Humanitarian Mission" on the package.

Also, if you would like to make a donation to the Refugee Children in Azerbaijan, you can make your tax-deductible checks payable to "USACC".