Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe

by IsraAID
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Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Emergency Relief for Refugees Arriving in Europe
Petra-Olympou Refugee Camp
Petra-Olympou Refugee Camp

Hi!

It is GivingTuesday today and we have wonderful news: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is matching your donation with 50% on GlobalGiving! Do not miss this opportunity!

IsraAID in Greece still needs your help – see our other project on Greece here on GlobalGiving – Holistic Support for Refugees Arriving in Greece, ID 24270 to donate.

The new video on the project page tells the story of a woman IsraAID has been working with in Petra-Olympou refugee camp. Awash, a 31-year-old Yazidi refugee from Syria, fled the bombings in Aleppo with her young son. Her positive spirit is truly inspiring!

Winter has come to Greece and the temperatures in the camp's mountainous surroundings are dropping below zero. Mount Olympus' snow-covered top can be seen from the camp and the families fear the long winter months ahead. UNHCR and the Greek government are struggling to find solutions for the worsening conditions and were able to relocate some of the refugees to safer locations, however many still remain in the camp, desperately waiting for their turn. 

IsraAID continues to work in the camp – providing emotional and psychological support to the residents in a bid to create a sense of routine and stability. Through activities such as physical exercise, psychosocial group sessions, stress management activities for refugees, and English lessons for all ages.

IsraAID is working hand in hand with the refugees to re-build a sense of community and hope despite the many challenges ahead.  

Thank you for your support!

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IsraAID arrived in Lesbos, Greece in early September 2015 for a relief mission and a needs assessment, aimed at identifying both short and long-term needs of the asylum seeker population overflowing Greece, leading to a major humanitarian crisis. IsraAID’s Arabic speaking professional team of medical and PSS personnel, have been working together with local authorities and partners to manage the overwhelming flow of refugees arriving from Turkey to Lesbos, focusing on 1) medical services and 2) mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), two areas in which IsraAID has extensive experience and expertise, based on 15 years of responses in 23 countries.

Most refugees that land in Lesbos have been affected and traumatized by the war that has been raging on in their home country for years and if that’s not enough the journey to reach Greece is treacherous which has effected their mental health leaving many distressed, shocked, and anxious.  The refugees arriving in Greece need immediate psychosocial support to help them cope with what is behind them and prepare them for the difficulties that are yet to come. 

As the journey for refugees continued onwards to northern Greece and the Macedonia border a bottleneck was created. Many refugees are in limbo waiting to be reunified with families or leave continuing on to Western Europe. Recently, the need has become even greater as the European Union made a deal with Turkey and now no refugees are leaving. Many were living in unauthorized camp but in recent weeks those have closed and only official camps are operating. IsraAID has been working directly with refugees as well as training volunteers who have come to help refugees in Idomeni.

IsraAID has been providing medical care and psychosocial support, since September 2015 to refugees making their way from Turkey into Europe. As the needs of the refugees change IsraAID has adapted our program to meet their needs. Currently IsraAID is providing PSS at Silver Bay Hotel in Lesbos, which has been made into a shelter for the most vulnerable. Marwa, IsraAID’s resident art therapist, provided psychosocial support (PSS) activities for the women at the shelter. Activities have been implemented everyday with between 10-15 women in attendance. Abd, IsraAID’s resident PSS specialist, has been providing session with the men in the shelter. All our programming provides holistic support recognizing the multifaceted and dynamic issues the refugees are facing. On a daily basis IsraAID is provided with a list of cases that require one-on-one consultation. Our PSS staff aid in resolving these cases.

In addition to PSS activities, Marwa has been working on a women’s empowerment program that aims to identify and supervise refugee women who were once teachers and provide them with support to teach children, Arabic, Mathematics, and sport.  

In Idomeni IsraAID has been running two psychosocial support programs. The first targets refugee men, women, and children. IsraAID specialists are providing them with a variety of therapeutic activities including art, dance, mindfulness, and structured play for children. The second program is a training of volunteers with the aim of providing them with tools to work with vulnerable people. The main focus has been on psychological first aid (PFA).  

IsraAID has had many moments of triumph and success when working with the refugees. We would like to highlight here two of our recent achievements:

  1. A mother and her seven children have been residing at the shelter in Lesbos for the past three months. She is in the processes of applying for family reunification as her husband is already in Sweden.  This process is very stressful and waiting for an answer that may only come at the end of September has taken an emotional toll, leaving her depressed and extremely sad. This woman has been attending our women’s PSS program since its inception and was always an active participant. Recently, she stopped attending, and had not left her room in several days. Marwa decided to invite the woman and her children into the city for ice cream and provided her a one-on-one session removed from the shelter. After the session the women returned to the daily PSS activities. Her children share with Marwa how grateful they were for helping their mother by lifting her spirits.  
  2. Over the past two months the population at the shelter has been steadily increasing. The families at the shelter have formed a community and have been able to use each other for support. This past week it was announced that 100 families were accepted to the family reunification program. As a result, there has been strong animosity between those soon to leave and those who are still agonizing, waiting for an answer. This one close knit community now had deep fissures dividing and alienating different groups. Fights broke out and lasted for a couple of days. IsraAID decided to use our morning PSS sessions as a platform for people to talk about the recent news and in doing so afforded everyone an opportunity to discuss and rebuild relationships around mutual understanding and sensitivity rather than jealousy and hate. Every day Abd and Marwa meet with the community and slowly there has been improvement and we are seeing families support one another again.

During previous PSS sessions the women constantly discussed that the island reminded them of home when they saw the olive trees and they constantly discussed the beauty of it. After, one such discussion, Marwa brought charcoal for the women to draw with and told each women to draw her own olive tree and then discussed the importance of an olive tree and its symbolism. One of the women we will call “Em Khaled” said that the olive tree always reminded her of home and the smell of the olives brought her back memories of her childhood.  But, today she sees the olive tree in a different way and she relates to it differently. She said: “You can burn an olive tree to the ground but its roots will always be there and that’s how I feel. You can burn me to the ground but my roots and Syria will forever remain."

IsraAID will continue our PSS programming in the shelters and camps with men, women, and children. We will also continue to provide one-on-one sessions for those who require more specialized care. In the coming weeks, IsraAID will be expanding our PSS activities working at the Kara Tepe refugee camp focusing on programming for women and teen girls.  We will also continue with our medical services and food distributions as needed.

IsraAID would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of our donors for helping this project be successful. Generous gifts from donors like you provide financial and moral support needed to continue our mission. It is your action and support that enables all of us to create a better world and support the most vulnerable people in the world.

With your faithful financial contributions, you’ve demonstrated your deep commitment to our work, with refugees flooding into Europe. Your support has repeatedly played a key role in our success in providing medical and psychosocial support for refugees arriving in Greece. There is no way to fully express our gratitude for your loyalty. We at IsraAID are continually inspired by the dedication and generosity of donors like yourselves who answer the call to give again and again.

IsraAID is dedicated to supporting refugees along their journey in Greece and will continue to provide medical support, essential distributions, and psychosocial support. Please help us continue providing these vital services to refugees in Greece. Please help support and follow our ongoing projects by following this link  https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-relief-for-refugees-arriving-in-greece/

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Jewish volunteers and Syrian refugees
Jewish volunteers and Syrian refugees
(Berlin)  Holocaust survivor Mr Gerhard Baader who lives in Berlin has joined IsraAIDs PSS training sessions where we provide him and other Jewish German volunteers with tools on how to better deal with the influx of refugees. Mr Baader comes once a week to the temporary shelters in Berlin and teaches German to Syrians, Iraqis, Afghan, Yazidis, Kurdish refugees helping them better integrate into the German society.  IsraAID also trains local government officials, local and national German aid agencies on trauma, Pycho social and treatment of in accompanied minors. IsraAID teams on the ground consists of Jews, Muslims and Christians all part of IsraAIDs volunteers in Israel. 
In the last few weeks IsraAID specialists team in Germany trained 65 social workers and volunteers working with refugees in Berlin, Hannover and Bielfeld.
On February 2016 IsraAID launched its program in Germany aiming to provide psycho social support and educational programs for thouands of refugees in close partnership with the Jewish community of Germany and the German government.
Gerhard Baader- the holocaust survivor
Gerhard Baader- the holocaust survivor
Lior IsraAID's specialist and Gerhard
Lior IsraAID's specialist and Gerhard

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Rescue and medical support
Rescue and medical support
The medical and psychological needs of the refugees are beyond words. Our team of Israeli Arab and Jews are working on the shores of Lesbos day and night providing vital support to 5000-7000 refugees arriving daily mostly from Syria.
 
We have partnered with GlobalGiving to match every dollar raised to support the refugee crisis through the following site starting from TUES, December 1st.
 
This is the most immediate opportunity for you to get involved, share the spirit of giving, and spread word of our work.  Even $10 would be of great help.
 
Your support would help us meet our $99,000 goal to continue the ongoing emergency response for the next six months.  Your donation through the GlobalGiving site will also keep you and your friends informed of front line updates and volunteer opportunities as they arise. 
 
Please join us in this effort to provide hope for the thousands of refugees seeking haven.  Thank you, again, for all your support.
We sincerely appreciate your on going support,
The IsraAID team
Rescue at night
Rescue at night
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The war trauma of a Syrian child
The war trauma of a Syrian child

ISRAAID RESPONSE TO DATE

  1. Greece

IsraAID’s Advance team arrived in Greece on the 7.9.15 for an immediate relief mission and a needs assessment, aimed at identifying both the short- and long-term needs of the asylum seeker population overflowing Greece and creating a major humanitarian crisis.

The capacity of local officials and international actors to coordinate the arrival, registration, information sharing and provision of basic needs for the new arrivals is limited, and IsraAID’s team on the ground rapidly identified and began to implement activities. These included the distribution of basic supplies and winterization items, information sharing regarding the process from arrival to exiting the country, the provision of immediate Psychological First Aid (PFA) support to individuals and families of new arrivals, and the delivery of medical services to new arrivals to support the overwhelmed local systems. 

Following a series of tragic shipwrecks on the beaches of Greece, local authorities and the UNHCR requested that IsraAID provide psychological support to the surviving family members of those lost, emphasizing children. In addition, MHPSS training for officials, as well as medical services for those in need has been requested as well.

To date, hundreds of asylum seekers have received PFA and emergency care.

  1. Serbian Borders

On September 13th, IsraAID sent an assessment and relief mission to Serbia to determine both the short term and long term needs of both the refugee population crossing through Europe as well to support a number of national and international agencies struggling to cope with the changing humanitarian needs on the ground.  

As of mid-September, IsraAID completed a thorough assessment in several Balkan states, with a focus on Serbia and Croatia, the crucial gateway and mid-way point of a refugee’s journey, in most cases, to Germany.  IsraAID was on the ground to assess the humanitarian situation and conditions that result from a growing trend of border closures and overwhelmed logistical infrastructure, subsequently impacting the movement of thousands of refugees.  Such disruptions to the flow of people quickly lead to unmanageable bottlenecks around key locations, such as bus and train stations, roads and public spaces, as well as around border crossings and in the ‘no man’s land’ between two states.

IsraAID assessed the conditions of a growing phenomenon: the arrival of thousands of refugees within the span of just 2-3 hours, by buses, taxis and/or by foot, to key sites with insufficient or poor infrastructure to cope with the sheer number of arrivals.  Basic necessities such as such as toilets/latrines, running water, protection from the elements (sun/rain/snow), water and food etc. are simply not available or sufficient.  The lack of basic information and crowd control upon arrival further exacerbates the situation, causing much stress, hardship and at times chaos as refugees attempt to re-group, orient themselves and cope with the new environment as they plan the next leg of their journey. 

As bottlenecks continue to spring up across several Balkan states, the humanitarian conditions on the ground deteriorate for the thousands of new arrivals who are simply stranded and unable to pass.  Relief items, such as water and snacks are often urgently needed first, followed by basic Non-Food Items (NFIs) such as clothing, shoes and hygiene items to replace worn out, lost and/or abandoned items along the route. 

IsraAID first piloted and then launched the Mobile Relief Unit during the week of September 14th – 21st, at a crucial period in the development of EU policies towards refugees, and in anticipation of Hungary’s stricter border controls and fencing of its southern, open border with Serbia, where thousands of refugees had been crossing through freely on a daily basis.

IsraAID subsequently expanded its work to locations where refugees were being re-routed, on the Croatia side of the Serbian border, in several transit points, train and bus stations as well as in ad hoc camps that sprung up.  At its peak, IsraAID was among the first agencies providing relief to over 11,000 refugees crossing from Serbia into Croatia in under 24 hours.

IsraAID Mobile Relief Unit proved to be one of the most efficient and effective solutions, given the rapid and changing movements and flow of refugees seeking to cross Serbia and Croatia.  The Mobile Relief Unit continues to provide on-going humanitarian relief at strategic periods and points of the long and often treacherous journey across Europe. 

Our heroes
Our heroes
Psycho social for children
Psycho social for children
slings for refugees
slings for refugees
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Organization Information

IsraAID

Location: Tel Aviv, Merkaz - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @IsraAID
Project Leader:
Navonel Glick
Tel Aviv, Merkaz Israel

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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