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Supporting the Most Vulnerable Refugees

March 30, 2016

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Featured Nonprofit: RefugePoint

RefugePoint finds the world’s most vulnerable refugees, including women at-risk, orphaned children and survivors of torture, and helps them resettle in permanent, safe locations and rebuild their lives with dignity. 

Today, approximately 60 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced — that’s more than at any other time in history. Refugees are fleeing their homes because of war, violent conflict and persecution – circumstances that make it impossible to continue living in their own countries. As Somali-British poet Warsan Shire wrote, “No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”

whatwedo_homepage_3colLarge international agencies work to provide for the basic needs of refugees in camps and temporary settlements. But there are many particularly vulnerable refugees that fall through the cracks. These refugees include orphaned, separated, or neglected children, women at risk, survivors of torture, people with life-threatening medical conditions, elderly refugees, refugees in imminent physical danger, and those living in the shadows in urban slums. The mission of RefugePoint is to find these vulnerable refugees—those with no other options for survival—and help them find a lasting solution, that is, a safe place to call home. RefugePoint approaches this mission with three strategies: resettlement when possible to safe countries around the world, holistic programs to help integrate urban refugees in their local communities, and innovative methodologies that influence the humanitarian field to improve its approaches.

Resettlement to safe countries

In Sub-Saharan Africa, where RefugePoint is focused, there are more than 3 million refugees fleeing violence and persecution in the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and other countries experiencing conflict and instability. RefugePoint deploys protection officers in refugee camps and urban areas to identify the most vulnerable refugees and refer them for resettlement opportunities. RefugePoint also works with UNHCR, local NGOs, and governments to improve resettlement efforts and conducts targeted advocacy for at-risk refugees who would otherwise be overlooked. Since its founding in 2005, RefugePoint has referred over 32,000 refugees in life-threatening situations for resettlement, helping them access permanent safety in new countries and rebuild their lives with dignity.

Integration in local communities

RefugePoint also provides holistic assistance to refugees for whom resettlement is not an option, to help them make new homes in the places to which they flee. Many refugees from conflicts in eastern and central Africa flee to Nairobi, Kenya where they may have a better chance at survival but continue to face extraordinary challenges. Having lost their traditional insiderp_homepage_3colsupport systems, these refugees experience profound isolation and often immediate danger, with no community or safety net to turn to. RefugePoint’s unique Urban Refugee Protection Program has a permanent team of social workers and livelihoods experts who understand the power of community in times of crisis, and can act as that safety net for refugees who need it. They provide life-saving services that stabilize and empower vulnerable urban refugees so that they can become self-reliant. These provisions include food, medical care, counseling, rent assistance, school enrollment, and training for livelihoods opportunities. This ultimately helps refugees rediscover hope and a place to call home.

Field Building

Although RefugePoint focuses its work in the post-conflict areas of Africa where the crisis is acute, they also work in tandem with other international organizations to support advocacy efforts and policy improvements for refugees worldwide, including those coming from Syria. They are committed to bringing new, private funding to bear on refugee issues, allowing innovations to emerge in a field whose practices have become antiquated and inadequate for present-day challenges. They use what they learn through their direct services to create new, more effective methodologies, which they then share with the field at large to change and improve systems.

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We’re proud to feature the work of RefugePoint because they are women-focused and because their intervention model intrinsically values the individual refugee. When you support RefugePoint you support resettlement for the world’s most vulnerable refugees across Africa, life-saving services to help urban refugees find self-reliance and dignity, and advocacy efforts and innovative solutions for refugees worldwide. Turn your talents and interests into a fundraiser for RefugePoint today and help end the refugee crisis.

Photos courtesy of RefugePoint

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