Global Refugee Fund

by IsraAID
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund
Global Refugee Fund

IsraAID’s programming in the Palorinya Refugee Settlement in Moyo District provides Child Protection and basic educational services to the local population. Close to 330,000 individuals live in the area, including refugees and the host community, made up of 65% children under the age of 17. With 74% of households reporting that at least one member lacks the psychological care they need, protection services are crucial to provide urgent support. Uganda hosts more than 1.2 million refugees, just under one third of all refugees worldwide, and the highest number in Africa. 67% of these refugees are from neighboring South Sudan, where war and civil strife forced them from their homes; others are from the DRC, Burundi, Somalia, and Rwanda.

IsraAID’s team on the ground improves community-based Child Protection mechanisms, by providing daily activities for children in our Child Friendly Space (CFS). The CFS’ implementation model is designed to involve community members directly in ensuring that children have the resources they need to learn and grow.

Over the past months, IsraAID, thanks to the generous support from our partners, has begun to construct a new CFS, which will allow us to reach new families and children in need of support. Upon completion, this CFS will have capacity to host an average of 150 children per day, 6 days a week, for 8 hours per day. Daily programming in basic numeracy/literacy, recreational activities, sports, expressive arts, and psychosocial support will be implemented by refugee and host-community facilitators who have undergone intensive psychosocial and child protection training with IsraAID staff. In addition, the CFS will be used as an outreach hub to engage the wider community in the importance of Child Protection and advocate for education.

Currently, the building process is well underway, with the foundation set and the structures beginning to take shape. After the site was cleared of trees, bushes, and hills, the foundation’s pit was dug for the two-classroom block, as well as the latrine. The foundation and column base was set, made of concrete, and the brick for the walls is currently being laid for the classrooms. The latrine block is completed, with an iron roof. The steel casement for the doors have been fitted, and are awaiting painting, which will take place three weeks after the plaster surfaces have cured and been set. The external walls of the latrines are finished with
rough cast, to protect them from the effects of weathering. The latrines also have a gutter connection from the roof, a vent pipe to prevent bad odors, and a handwashing tank has been constructed next to the latrines.

Following a few issues with which  authorities had jurisdiction of the land (now resolved), the most significant challenge during this period was bad weather. Heavy rains slowed down the process of transporting materials to the construction site and delayed the contractor’s ability to keep up with the schedule. Although this has postponed the CFS’s launch date, the wet weather has helped to cure the CFS’s walls, which in the long term, will make the building far more durable and weather resistant.

In addition, the contractor faced some difficulty in employing a sufficient number of workers, which further slowed down the work. IsraAID staff stepped in, seeing this as an opportunity, and recruited local community members to support the process. Not only does this help speed up the process, but it also bolsters local ownership of the CFS.

Concurrent to the construction of the new CFS, IsraAID’s regional Protection team also trained the new, and existing, CFS facilitators from the refugee and host community. The training included Psychological First Aid (PFA), elements of Child  Protection, the Protection referral system, how to operate CFS and more!

Thank you for your support!!

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Carlo was leading today’s Thursday session. “I thought we’d share something about where we come from, since there are so many nationalities in the room,” he began. We worked our way around the room, introducing ourselves. Guinea, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the United States, Germany. As we answered, Carlo mapped out each country. “I’d love to learn about where each one of you come from; are you guys interested as well?”

Three days earlier, I had arrived in Berlin to begin my six-week internship. Rather than feeling like work, my first few days were a welcome into a community of old and new friends, led by IsraAID Leadership Specialists Carlo and Anna. On Thursdays, a group of current and former participants of the IsraAID Leadership Groups Project gather at the Haus der Nachbarschaft in Schöneberg, a borough of Berlin.

We were all curious to hear about each other’s homelands. As the participants began sharing, information poured out. Two group members, from Guinea and Afghanistan, brought up the unique linguistic profiles of their nations — both feature over forty different languages! I was reminded of how languages affect the way we think and see the world. This is an ongoing debate within psychology. Some scholars consider the difference among languages to be a clear indicator that their speakers must encode different aspects of the world. Other scholars hold that while people may speak differently, they still interpret their environments in similar ways. Something that cannot be communicated via language may be expressed in other forms. IsraAID Germany has used this idea to overcome the barrier of language through workshops incorporating movement, dance, and music. These workshops are often led by program graduates, allowing them to transition from the role of participant to leader — one of the primary objectives of the Leadership Groups Project.

After the session, I reflected on how much I had learned in just a few hours. I’d read books and taken history classes on the Middle East and Africa, but it was a completely different experience listening to locals speak about their own countries. I already knew, intellectually, that I shouldn’t live in a Eurocentric bubble; but hearing stories that defied my Western framework drove home for me the importance of intercultural exposure, highlighting to me the beauty of life beyond my personal experience.

IsraAID Germany started the leadership project in different locations around the country in order to support refugees as they become integrated into the community. One of the main goals of the project is to motivate participants to aid others in their own communities and the host society through self-made projects, allowing them to realize their own strengths and the power of helping others. Through initiatives such as cooking for the homeless and visiting retirement homes, the participants begin supporting other refugees, ultimately achieving a greater impact.

Continuing the conversation in both German and English, we were able to identify our similarities while appreciating the variety and richness of each culture. When Biryani — a spicy rice dish common in South Asian cuisine — was brought up, the participant from Iran said his mouth began to water. “You can’t find real Biryani in the West!” The man continued to share about his homeland, describing the odd mix of old and new that has existed since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. We were told that upward of 70% of his social circle back home still drinks and dances privately, despite the prohibition of such activities under Sharia Law. “You can change the name of our country, but you can’t change the people,” he emphasized.

Next up was a seventeen-year-old Yazidi girl from Iraq. Although world media has publicized the genocide perpetrated against the Yazidis by ISIS, not everyone in the room had a clear understanding of who the Yazidis are. The girl admitted she was not an expert, but shared a little about her people’s religion and ethnic background. Outside of Iraq, Germany has the largest population of Yazidis in the world. For this reason, IsraAID Germany is currently working on various programs specifically aimed at supporting Yazidi survivors.

After nearly three hours of talking, we had yet to discuss Turkey, Syria, the United States, or Germany. “I have a question about the United States,” said one of the men from Guinea as we were wrapping up. “It looks like we should continue this conversation next week then, because we are all curious to learn more,” Carlo answered. Disappointed to end, I already began anticipating our next session and the promise of expanding my horizons even further alongside my new friends.

Following the mass influx of refugees to Germany in 2015, IsraAID launched “Bridges of Hope,” which aims to provide holistic long term support for refugees upon their resettlement. On top of the cultural shock, many refugees carry deep physical and emotional scars from the violence and atrocities suffered during years of conflict; the most vulnerable among them are women and unaccompanied minors. IsraAID provides sustainable support for shelters throughout Germany by working directly with refugees and affected communities. Efforts have included the set up of mobile specialist trauma units, support programs for female survivors of sexual gender-based violence (GBV), and a vocational program for women. Serena is currently attending Columbia University in New York City, New York. She is one of two IsraAID Humanitarian Fellows volunteering in Germany for summer 2019.

Thank you for your support!

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Nutritional Support for Child Refugees in Kenya

Kakuma refugee camp located in West Turkana, Kenya, opened in 1992 and is currently home to over 190,000 refugees from different nationalities, who have fled persecution and war in neighbouring countries including South Sudan, Somalia, and the DRC. Instability in the region, most notably in South Sudan, continues to cause displacement. In addition to the camp’s population there are an estimated 50,000 members of the host community, many of whom rely on government and NGO support. 

The acute malnutrition rate in Turkana sits at 30%, with children at the highest risk. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition contributes to more than a third of pediatric deaths. Tuberculosis, Malaria, and HIV/AIDS, and other illnesses, further increase vulnerability to malnutrition. The Kakuma refugee camp is in one of Kenya’s poorest and most drought-stricken regions, exacerbating access to enough nutritional resources.

In April, the IsraAID Kenya team, in partnership with the UNHCR, IRC, and Kenya Red Cross, donated food supplement distribution to patients identified as high-need. Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is the recommended method of supplementing food in the final stage of rehabilitation from malnutrition. Forty cents purchases one sachet of the supplement; on average, each patient needs to receive one sachet per day, for over 21 days, as their outpatient treatment, while rehabilitating at home and returning to educational frameworks. 100 boxes can serve over 700 children.

RUTF is a ready-to-use paste, made of peanut butter, dried skim milk, and additional vitamins. It can be stored for months without refrigeration and has recently begun being manufactured in the region to decrease dependency on imports and increase sustainable usage. The WHO and UNICEF identify RUTF as optimal treatment for severe malnutrition, specifically for children, because it can be utilized at home rather than in hospitals.

IsraAID was able to donate 108 cartons of RUTF-- supporting many of the most vulerable residents of the Kakuma Refugee Camp.

1 Year Anniversary of the Sindos Community Center in Greece!

The Sindos Community Center, located in a suburb of Thessaloniki, has become a hub of intercultural, communal ownership, creating a platform for meaningful interaction between refugees and local Greeks. Refugees from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Morocco, Algeria, Congo, and Kurdistan facilitate and teach the daily schedule of classes, supported by IsraAID’s Greek and international staff.

Professional development courses aimed at improving refugee access to gainful employment focus on CV workshops, English and Greek classes, skill building sessions, and IT training. Each day, more than 70 refugees attend the center's diverse activities.

Last month, the Sindos Community Center celebrated its one year anniversary!

The whole community came together for a festival with food, dancing, and face painting for children. More than 200 people attended the event, a true testament to the multicultural community that's been built together.

Just a few weeks later, leaders from the Community Center partook in the Thessaloniiki Multilingualism Festival held at City Hall. Three different sessions demonstrated the success of multiculturalism at Sindos with the wider Thessaloniki community-- including a movement therapy session, a self-care and beauty session for women, and multi-language logic games!

These events are a testament to the Sindos community's work to build bridges between different cultures, working towards the common goal of meaningful integration and collaboration between the refugee and local communities.

Thank you for your support of these important programs!

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The Kakuma refugee camp, fourth largest in the world, is home to over 150,000 refugees from a number of African countries including Somalia, South Sudan, and the DRC. Adjacent to the camp is Kalobeyei, a settlement created as an answer to long-term displacement of refugees in the region.

While there are a number of NGO-run schools in Kakuma and Kalobeyei, only 50% of children are enrolled, leaving an enormous gap. Early marriage, a need for income, or other child protection issues are the primary reason cited for this low rate of school attendance. These protection issues disproportionately impact girls.

Amid these challenges, IsraAID is working to offer protection services implemented complementarily to the formal education system, specifically oriented to these children’s needs through two Child Resource Centers, one in Kakuma and one in Kalobeyei.

Throughout January, the outdoor space at the Kakuma Child Resource Center was under construction, to install a pergola which will give the children a shaded space for play. In addition, new soccer goals were set up to allow for children to play together. Check out the below pictures!!

Within the framework of these Child Resource Centers, IsraAID staff has, since 2016, trained facilitators from the community in psychosocial support to provide targeted care in a safe space. The centers are open six days per week, eight hours per day, serving 150 children each day. IsraAID’s facilitators, from the refugee community themselves, work to support the difficult emotional and behavioral needs the children often present. Furthermore, facilitators engage parents and children to create a culture of prevention and zero tolerance for phenomena such as female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage, and psychological or emotional abuse.

In January, IsraAID also launched a new Child Resource Center in the Palorinya Settlement in the Moyo district of Uganda, to provide 200 children daily with holistic protection services in a safe space. The center is run by 10 facilitators recruited from the refugee community and trained by IsraAID protection officers in prevention and response techniques. Daily activities will include psychosocial support to provide holistic care for children attendees aged 5 and up, focusing on their specific protection needs. In addition, an outreach program will engage some 400 community members in a series child protection awareness raising workshops through the framework of the center to increase preventive measures by parents, leaders, and other service providers.

Thanks for your support of these programs!

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On Monday 29 October, German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented IsraAID with the German Federal Government’s Integration Prize, in recognition of our work with refugees in Germany.

The German government’s highest honor for integration was given to IsraAID Germany’s Brückenbau (“Bridge Building”) project, which provides psychological support in Arabic for at-risk refugee women and victims of gender-based violence living in shelters and training and counselling for shelter staff. The program empowers women living in refugee shelters to build better self-help structures, improve interactions with shelter staff and strengthen personal and child safety.

The Brückenbau program is run in partnership with ZWST, the Welfare Board of Jews in Germany.

 At the ceremony in Berlin, Chancellor Merkel said ….

"IsraAID has been operating in Germany since 2015, when one million asylum seekers and refugees reached the country, most fleeing the brutality of the Syrian civil war and the threat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In addition to Brückenbau, IsraAID Germany’s programs include refugee youth leadership groups, post-trauma psychosocial support for children using expressive arts therapy, and a special program supporting survivors of the Yazidi genocide. IsraAID’s team in Germany is a multicultural mosaic of Arabic-, Hebrew-, German- and English-speaking psychologists, social workers, art therapists and educators.

IsraAID has been at the forefront of the international response to the global refugee and displacement crisis. Around the world, 68.5 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. 25.4 million are refugees, and more than half of them are children. This is one of the largest humanitarian disasters of our generation. IsraAID has been at the forefront of the global response, with sustainable programs to build resilience, provide education, combat gender-based violence, advance child protection, improve sanitation and offer livelihood opportunities. Since the height of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015, IsraAID has provided medical, psychosocial and educational support to over 100,000 refugees in Greece and Germany alone."

Commenting on the award, Yotam Polizer, IsraAID Co-CEO, said:

“The global refugee crisis is among the most pressing humanitarian challenges of our generation. We pay tribute to our fantastic, multicultural and multinational team in Germany whose work is being recognized today, and to our partnership with ZWST which makes this program possible. At IsraAID, we aim to utilize our professional expertise to support the needs, rights, and integration of refugees wherever we can. Today, we have teams working with refugees and displaced people in Bangladesh, Germany, Greece, Kenya, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, South Sudan, and Uganda. In Germany, and in Greece, most of the people we reach are civilians fleeing brutal conflicts in countries like Iraq and Syria. The IsraAID Germany program being honored today – Bridge Building – is a striking testament to the power of our common humanity, as we support communities on the journey towards a better future.”

Navonel Glick, IsraAID Co-CEO, added:

“Many members of the IsraAID community are still reeling after the horrifying attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this weekend. The values of integration and tolerance promoted by this prize are the antithesis of violence and hate, and a powerful reminder our humanitarian mission to help those in need, regardless of religion, race, or gender.”

IsraAID Germany and our missions around the world were honored to recieve the 2018 Integration Award! Congratulations to all involved!

Thank you for your ongoing support of this work!

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Organization Information


Location: Tel Aviv, Merkaz - Israel
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @IsraAID
Project Leader:
Tamar Lazarus
Tel Aviv, Merkaz Israel
$20,704 raised of $99,999 goal
301 donations
$79,295 to go
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