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
Children play at the School of Peace
Children play at the School of Peace

Refugee Numbers on Lesvos Reaches All-time High

August saw a record high of asylum seekers residing on the Greek island of Lesvos, reaching 10,192.

The number of new arrivals reaching Lesvos by boat spiked in August, with some 1,668 individuals. IsraAID's mobile medical team provided emergency medical care and triage for all boats reaching the northern shoreline, and provided follow up for patients in the Stage 2 Transit Camp clinic, overseen by IsraAID nurses Ioanna and Marta.

As numbers of asylum seekers on the island increases, IsraAID staff is continuing to provide life-saving medical treatment within the Kara Tepe Refugee Camp, and runs the largest educational framework for refugee children, the School of Peace, in partnership with the graduates of the Israeli youth movement, Hashomer Hatzair.


Kompass Youth Refugee Program in Germany

IsraAID Humanitarian Fellow Naya Yassin writes about her first day working in Germany with the Kompass Youth program, which aims to provide integration support to young adult refugees through empowerment and community building.

"On my first day with IsraAID, I found myself on the shore of Krumme Lanke surrounded by a dozen young refugees to whom I was trying, often with not much luck, to apply glitter and funky body art as they ate watermelon with a spoon. While this might sound unusual to many, it is in fact just another day with the Kompass Youth project, which plans such events for refugee youth on a regular basis.

Kompass Youth is part of the 'Kompass' program that IsraAID Germany has started, seeking to nurture leadership and empowerment among refugees in Berlin. As the name suggests, Kompass Youth is designed for the younger generation of refugees who have not yet fully adapted to their semi new environment (all of them have been here for at least 2 years now).

The objective behind the lake photoshoot was to have the teens leave their comfort zone and work on their self-confidence. To properly join the Kompass Youth team that day, Aliza and I, the two IsraAID Humanitarian Fellows in Germany this summer, had to get into character and to dress up  before leaving the office.

As one would expect from kids who had grown up in a conservative and relatively traditional community, just as I did in my small town of Arraba in Israel, many of the boys were reluctant to let me put anything on their faces, and a couple of them would wipe it away as soon as I was done putting it on. Eventually, they gave in and let me use glitter and paint all sorts of shapes on their faces.

The teens might not have realized it at the moment, but that tiny bit of glitter and that one different piece of clothing they agreed to wear took them one step out of their comfort zone, and helped them be more confident. To top it all, we have plenty of pictures to show for it, and which we will print out and give to them as reminder that they have the freedom to express themselves anyway they please and judgement-free."

A boat used by asylum seekers to reach Lesvos
A boat used by asylum seekers to reach Lesvos
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World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day was marked around the world on Wednesday, June 20th. According to the UNHCR, there are now 68.5 million displaced people around the world – the highest number since World War Two. 25.4 million are refugees. Every day, an average of 44,400 people are forced to flee their homes.

This year, IsraAID focused on the ways in which refugees around the world are building new lives in their host countries. Read the article from IsraAID’s co-CEOs: You Escape. You Find Refuge. Then What? (link at the bottom of this update).

Thought for the day

"With my training from IsraAID, I can change things for the better. When kids fight, I can change that. When kids are sad, I can change that. There is always so much to learn, but there are many things I can do."

- Mouch, facilitator and football coach at our Child Resource Center in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, is a refugee from South Sudan and has worked with IsraAID for four years.

There are more than 185,000 refugees from across the region living in Kakuma Refugee Camp in rural Turkana County, Kenya. Nearly 60% are under the age of 18. IsraAID’s Child Resource Center in Kakuma is an oasis for these children, with daily activities, psychosocial support, safe water, and the chance to – simply – be kids. All of the facilitators at the center are refugees themselves. 

I want to give my heart to others

Meet Asefa, a math teacher at the School of Peace in Lesbos, Greece.  A Yazidi refugee from Sinjar in Iraq, Asefa has lived in a refugee camp on the island for the past six months. She has three younger siblings in the Kurdish classes at the school and two brothers in Germany. She really hopes her family will be together soon.

"I want to instill within my students an open mind about their futures and their next steps in life. I want to give my heart to others, not just my students, not just the Kurdish people, but to everyone. I'm very proud to be my young sister's teacher. I hope that she can learn to be a powerful leader."

Run in partnership with the Israeli youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, the School of Peace is the only school on Lesbos with mother tongue education in Arabic, Congolese French, Dari Farsi and Kurdish, taught by refugee teachers from all around the world. 170 children attend every day.

Thank you for your support! More updates to follow ...

IsraAID's facilitators in Kakuma
IsraAID's facilitators in Kakuma
Asefa at the School of Peace, Lesbos
Asefa at the School of Peace, Lesbos


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Taha at the Child Resource Center in Kakuma, Kenya
Taha at the Child Resource Center in Kakuma, Kenya

Today we are witnessing the largest number of refugees ever reported – an unprecedented global crisis. The figures are devastating. 65.6 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. 22.5 million of them are refugees, of which over half are children. Around the world, IsraAID has put the needs of refugees and displaced people at the forefront of what we do.

Below are the personal stories of two people, both of whom have fled war and violence in their home countries, who have dedicated themselves to supporting refugee children through IsraAID’s programs.

Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

Taha (pictured above) is a facilitator at IsraAID's Child Resource Center in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, bringing fun and joy to children who have fled war, violence, hunger and drought. Taha is also a refugee himself from Darfur. Eight years ago, he escaped violent conflict, leaving his friends and family behind. He is one of more than 185,000 refugees living in Kakuma. Nearly 60% of refugees in Kakuma are under the age of 17.

After training with IsraAID, Taha is committed to supporting children who have experienced severe trauma. He is now a leader and role model in the refugee camp, running youth mentorship programs. The Child Resource Center is a secure oasis for over 150 children a day, providing recreational activities, safe water, and the chance to simply be kids.

“Hearing about each child's personal situation – everything that has led them to Kakuma and our center – reminds me of what I have been through, escaping from my home with no idea if or when I will be able to return. When I see a smile on the face of a child who has experienced indescribable trauma, I know that I am doing something good.”

IsraAID is in Kenya supporting the physical, medical and psycho-social needs of refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp & Kalobeyei Settlement.

Lesbos, Greece

Najwa (pictured below) is a French teacher from Damascus. Faced by the ongoing, brutal conflict in Syria, she managed to escape with her husband and six-year old daughter, Aya. They eventually made it to Algeria, where the family split up and Najwa began the arduous journey to Europe with Aya, alone. They arrived on the shores of Lesbos just a few months ago. Today, this Greek island hosts around 10,000 refugees, largely from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Refugees in Lesbos live in an uncertain limbo, struggling for access and opportunity. There are more than 1,500 refugee children on the island without a school to go to. Najwa and Aya, however, were able to find some normalcy through the School of Peace.

Run by IsraAID in partnership with Hashomer Hatzair and the Ajial Movement of Arab Educators, the school provides a safe, stable environment for over 150 children aged six to sixteen. They learn crucial subjects like Mathematics and English in their mother tongue and the teachers are refugees themselves.

With her professional experience, Najwa was delighted to join the faculty of the School of Peace, making a real difference to the lives of children like Aya.

IsraAID is in Greece responding to the medical, educational and psycho-social needs of refugees.

Thank you for your support! More updates to follow ...

Najwa & her daughter Aya in Lesbos, Greece
Najwa & her daughter Aya in Lesbos, Greece
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Treating new refugee arrivals.
Treating new refugee arrivals.

Thousands of refugees continue to arrive in Greece every month! 

Today, IsraAID's mobile medical team is the only unit operating on the north shores of Lesbos island. Our volunteer doctors and nurses provide emergency medical care to refugees following their incredibly arduous journeys.

Since just mid-August 2017, over 16,000 refugees and migrants, 40% of which are children, arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos seeking passage into Western Europe. This total, is more than double the number of new arrivals for the same period in 2016.

Today, there is a total of approximately 10,000 refugees living in Lesbos. However, the number is growing on a weekly basis and with the onset of winter it is expected to continue increasing.

In 2015 and early 2016, many international aid organizations were stationed on the island to receive and provide aid to the new refugees. However, after mid-2016 many left Lesbos as the number of arrivals gradually began to reduce. Since then, IsraAID has been a key part of UNHCR's central response plan, providing urgent medical care to the refugees arriving on the northern shoreline.

IsraAID has so far provided direct medical assistance to over 300 newly arrived refugees!

Emergency response:
The emergency medical team includes one doctor and two nurses, and is on-call 24/7. When a boat is spotted by local police or other bodies, the team is immediately alerted. They meet the new arrivals on the shore, do an immediate triage to assess urgent needs, and then, depending on urgency, take the patients needing care to either our local clinic or our medical tent in the transit camp. 

The refugees' conditions are varied but typically include shock and hypothermia. In addition, there are multiple heavily pregnant woman arriving, as well as refugees with chronic diseases such as cardiac conditions and diabetes. Most refugees are fleeing dangerous conditions and often are not able to transport with them urgent or even their regular medications.

This month, a five-year-old boy who needs regular dialysis arrived on a boat. Our doctor quickly identified the issue, and he was referred and transported immediately to the main hospital in Athens. In cases where the boats arrive undetected by police, there are often injuries from the rocks associated with trying to land the boat as well as distress and panic.

Ongoing medical response:
In addition, the medical team staffs the local clinic in the port area six days a week, Monday to Saturday. The clinic is attended by local host community members during the day time, and mostly refugees and NGO workers at night. The IsraAID team also provides regular First Aid training to all the volunteers on Lesbos.


IsraAID remains at the forefront of the response to the Global Refugee crisis, responding to the needs of East African and Middle Eastern refugees as they develop.

To date IsraAID has provided emergency aid, medical services, trauma care and training in affected countries including; South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Jordan, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, France and Germany.  Our teams have reached over 100,000 refugees, and trained national governments and local aid organi­zations as they struggle to cope with the mental and physical scars of the arrivals.

More updates to follow - thank you for you support!

Medical team on Lesbos.
Medical team on Lesbos.
Refugees arriving by boat!
Refugees arriving by boat!
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Training for service providers in Germany
Training for service providers in Germany

Although media attention is shifting, the needs of the global refugee community are greater and more urgent than ever. Today, IsraAID's teams continue to operate in the most affected areas, and provide humanitarian aid and long-term care to thousands from the most vulnerable populations in Greece, Germany, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda.

We are pleased to share a selection of recent highlights from some of our work with refugee communities, across the world. 

In Germany: 

'Horizont' art therapy program for refugee children:

Since 2014, 36% of the refugees that have arrived in Germany, are children aged 0-15. In addition to fleeing violence and war, these children and their families have also experienced tremendous trauma and hardships on their journeys to reach Greece and/or to cross the border to Germany.  Once in Germany, the families live in refugee shelters with limited living conditions, lack of privacy, an unfamiliar culture and surroundings, and an unstable present and future. The combination of all these factors, confronts these children with significant psychological challenges. It puts them at higher risk of trauma and post-trauma related syndromes, and low self-esteem and self-confidence.

IsraAID's Germany team provides a long-term art therapy program in Berlin and Frankfurt, in five shelters, which incorporates two five-hour sessions a week.  The creative process enables the child to connect to his inner world - their fears, wishes, experiences and hopes, and to express it and channel it to a positive place.

Stories of impact:

Ali, aged 8, is an Iraqi refugee who recently resettled in Germany with his family. Ali struggles with some traumatic memories from Iraq, and from his arduous journey to Germany. At the same time, he also really misses his former life and home, and must deal every day with these conflicting identity issues. During his art therapy sessions, as part of IsraAID's Horizont program for refugee children, Ali only paints pictures of the Iraqi flag – he has created over 20 already! This repetition gives him a sense of safety and stability. With the help of IsraAID's art therapists, Ali is slowly beginning to accept his new surroundings. The relaxed, positive space in the art studio gives him a sense of calm, and helps him channel his energy into a positive direction.

Rasool, 11, is a refugee from Iraq. He eventually arrived in Germany with his family, following a long, arduous journey via Turkey, and a year living in a refugee shelter in Greece. Rasool is very preoccupied with his integration into school in Germany, and finds it disappointing that he can't study in a regular class, because his German is not yet at a good enough level. It really affects his self-esteem and confidence. During his last art therapy session, Rasool drew a picture which he feels represents him being fully-integrated into his school; just like the other children. During IsraAID's Horizont art-therapy program for refugee children, Rasool can talk about his feelings and process his experiences through art. Being part of a group of similar-aged children, who have gone through the same things, is strengthening. Rasool listens to their advice, and doesn't feel quite so alone anymore.

Training German organizations that work with the refugee communities:

This week, IsraAID's team in Germany launched their new psycho-social training program for service providers in Germany. Our professionals started three separate, new training programs, in three distinct locations.

The first supports organizations that provide general services for the refugee community in Germany. The initial sessions covered introductory topics, such as trauma and resilience, and were held at IsraAID's offices in Berlin.

The second training strand is run by IsraAID's Arabic-speaking team in Frankfurt. The introduction session had over 50 participants from various organizations, who operate specifically in the field of Gender-based Violence prevention and Women Empowerment. After an intensive four-hour training, many participants requested to have another session for their teams and wider organizations. Our Germany team is busy planning the next one!

The third part of the training program provides long-term, weekly supervision meetings for staff and volunteer teams based in the refugee shelters. In these sessions, IsraAID's Arabic-speaking psychologist from Berlin helps the shelter teams process difficult cases they have encountered, builds their professional capacity and improves their ability to provide services to improve the well-being of the refugee community. 


In Greece:

Early Childhood Development Program:

"After the Early Childhood Development training program, I understand much more about the needs of children, beyond the physical necessities, like food and drink. They also need dialogue, empathy, boundaries, listening and games! I believe now that the child is a world in him/herself, just like a grown up." One of the participants in IsraAID's Early Childhood Development program.

IsraAID, in partnership with Early Starters International, is running an Early Childhood Development vocational training program for women refugees in Northern Greece, focused on teaching skills and knowledge in early childhood education and development. The three-month program, consists of four intensive training courses, each one-week long, which are being facilitated by Arabic-speaking experts from Israel.

The program empowers the women, provides them with technical skills and increases their employment opportunities for when they reach their country of resettlement. At the end of the program, the participants receive certificates recognized by Al-Qasemi College of Education in Israel.

The graduating group just opened, and is now running, a kindergarten in the camp! This center gives the women a valuable role in the shelter, and the children somewhere to learn and play, since the camps currently have no formal educational programs or frameworks for these ages. The women are enjoying putting their knowledge into practice and looking after some of the youngest refugees in North Greece!


In Uganda:

Child Protection Teacher Training:

IsraAID's Uganda team continues to run Child Protection training courses for over 40 primary school teachers in the refugee settlements in Northern Uganda.  The program includes three principal areas of focus: (1) introduction to Child Protection and psycho-social methods; (2) practical use of the tools and knowledge; and (3) how to relate previously-learned information with special needs children.

This month, teachers from the Maaji settlement graduated – below they are pictured with their certificates.

The training program aims to equip the teachers for their work with Uganda's young refugee population. This is of increasing importance, since Uganda hosts an enormous and ongoing influx of South Sudanese refugees, of which two-thirds are under 18 and many are unaccompanied minors. The graduates become certified child protection leaders and share their knowledge with colleagues, spreading the impact.

The training, run in partnership with Windle Trust Uganda, is facilitated by Israeli psycho-social professionals, as well as IsraAID's South Sudan Protection experts - this ensures that the training is culturally relevant and tailored specifically for South Sudanese refugee children.


In Kenya:

Medical Program:

IsraAID's medical program in Kenya, provides ongoing support to medical teams operating in Kakuma refugee camp. The medical clinics and hospitals in Kakuma are substantially under-staffed and ill-equipped. IsraAID's team provides crucial training, equipment and specialist doctors to meet the needs on the ground. In September, our volunteer doctors faciliated an epilepsy and ultra-sound training for the medical staff in the camp.

Children's Center:

This September, every day, an average of 200 children attended an IsraAID-run Children's Center in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

N., one of the children who frequents the center, said that she really appreciates how the facilitators push the children to take responsibility for themselves and reconcile any problems that they have with their peers in the camp.

IsraAID's team in Kenya is currently making plans to support a similar refugee-run Children's Center in a different refugee settlement, home to over 25,000 children. Updates to follow.


IsraAID remains at the forefront of the response to the Global Refugee crisis, responding to the needs of East African and Middle Eastern refugees as they develop. To date IsraAID has provided emergency aid, medical services, trauma care and training in affected countries including; South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Jordan, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, France and Germany.  Our teams have reached over 100,000 refugees, and trained hundreds of national governments and local aid organi­zations as they struggle to cope with the mental and physical scars of the arrivals.

More updates to follow - thank you for you support!

The graduating teachers group in Uganda
The graduating teachers group in Uganda
Early Childhood Development Kindergarten in Greece
Early Childhood Development Kindergarten in Greece
Flyer for new urban refugee program in Greece
Flyer for new urban refugee program in Greece
Ali's painting from his art therapy session
Ali's painting from his art therapy session
Children's center in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya
Children's center in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya
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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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