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Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 11:50am

Atlanta's CARE Helping Syrians

Syrian refugees aren’t getting the attention they deserve. That’s the message that the CEO of Atlanta-based nonprofit, CARE, told Atlanta Press Club Tuesday. Dr. Helene Gayle says it’s the worst humanitarian crisis since Rwanda.

CARE is celebrating the 20th anniversary this month of its move from New York to Atlanta. But the organization’s focus is a world away.

CARE is raising $50 million to provide support for the estimated 7 million Syrians displaced by the civil war.

But Gayle says the group has only managed to raise 20 percent of that goal.

“The vast majority of Syrian refugees aren’t living in camps,” she said. “They’re living in urban areas in Jordan. They’re often living in overcrowded apartments, sleeping on hard floors without mattresses or blankets.”

So far, the organization has helped 150,000 Syrian refugees.

Although CARE has been in Atlanta for two decades, Gayle says it’s one of Georgia’s best-kept secrets.

Now CARE is working more closely with the state’s growing consortium of groups focused on global health and human rights.

Gayle says CARE moved to Atlanta because of its broad reach in global health.

“Along with the CDC, CNN, the Carter Center and Coca-Cola – the four Cs as they’re sometimes called – and the soon-to-open National Center for Human and Civil Rights, we see ourselves as part of this ‘bringing the world to Atlanta’ [effort],” she said.

Last year, CARE helped more than 80 million people around the world. Its focus is on ending extreme poverty. And Gayle said that often means concentrating efforts on improving the health and education of girls and women.

The nonprofit aims to end extreme poverty. It formed after World II to help people in post-war Europe.