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Austrian donation helps dress displaced Colombians

Austrian donation helps dress displaced Colombians

Thousands of internally displaced people in Colombia have received new clothes donated by Austrian lingerie and hosiery maker Palmers AG, and distributed by UNHCR, the government's Social Solidarity Network and Catholic organisation Caritas-Pastoral Social.
21 April 2004
A displaced woman tries on a cap donated by Palmers in Bogotá

BOGOTA, Colombia (UNHCR) - They fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs, but have received a welcome donation of clothing to help them cope with life in displacement.

Thousands of internally displaced people in Colombia recently received new clothes donated by the Austrian lingerie and hosiery maker, Palmers AG. The donation included underwear, hosiery, T-shirts, caps and other goods suitable for the different climates in Colombia, from the cold capital Bogota and other Andean cities, to hot and humid provinces like Chocó and those on the Caribbean Coast.

Freight and logistics company DHL-Danzas transported the clothing for free, while UNHCR and the Colombian government's Social Solidarity Network distributed them. The Colombian branch of the Catholic organisation, Caritas-Pastoral Social, was also mobilised, with more than 30 Catholic dioceses across the country currently distributing clothing to displaced Colombians and their organisations.

UNHCR has also delivered the clothing directly to organisations like the Indigenous Board in Bogota, an organisation of indigenous people from different communities all across Colombia, from the huge rivers in the west of the country through high mountains in the Sierra Nevada and the Amazonas. They all have something in common: fighting between armed groups forced them to flee their homes for the capital, where they are struggling to rebuild their lives.

New clothes for this Colombian boy in Bogota.

"It is important to receive this help, because in our situation, time passes by and we have no access to new clothes," said Dianis Martinez, an indigenous mother of two in her 30s, as she received the donation.

Baudelino Riaño, one of the leaders of the Indigenous Board, added, "The most important thing is to see that national and international institutions are concerned about us, the displaced people. This is a motivation to keep going despite the difficulties, because we know we are not alone."

By Gustavo Valdivieso
UNHCR Colombia