Charities & Initiatives
Our filming through Calais, Colchester, Greece & Lebanon brought to light many beautiful and inspiring NGOs, charities and initiatives, whose work is invaluable in getting aid to those most in need.
We give gratitude to all those who supported Humanity’s Heart and helped with media passes and access into camps to facilitate the filming.
Humanity’s Heart is unable to accept donations or recruit volunteers directly, so we share with you the charities and initiatives we met including all the grass root organizations, which perhaps have less marketing capabilities but are extremely effective on the ground.
We have arranged each charity by location.
We appreciate there are many more initiatives shining light in this crisis which we have not had the opportunity to witness and share yet.
If you are a charity or organization that helps refugees and would like to share your work with Humanity’s Heart, please do get in touch.
The number of refugees in and around Calais is beginning to build up again, six months after the “Jungle” camp was demolished. Aid groups report several hundred new arrivals in recent weeks, around half of them unaccompanied minors.
There are still some charities and initiatives present, who vow they will be there until the very end. If you'd like to receive updates from them, they include:
KITCHEN IN CALAIS
CARE 4 CALAIS
Social Workers without Borders
Founded by a group of Social Workers following visits to camps in Greece and France, this Bristol and Manchester based initiative aims to promote a philosophy of solidarity with people at the borders. Their presence in Calais helps adult and child refugees receive forms of social support.
TASTE OF FREEDOM - A Charity Cookbook For Syria
This ebook is a collection of delicious recipes from one Syrian mother to the world. Packed with Jenny Sowerby's late mother Hayfa's favourite family recipes, it is dedicated to the memory of the men, women and children who have died, or continue to suffer, during brutal conflict in many areas of the world. 100% of the money raised goes to Doctors of the World UK, a medical charity meeting the needs of refugees on Greek islands as well as in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and through clinics throughout Europe. Taste of Freedom has won UK Charity and Fundraising Cookbook of the Year at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards - the only international competition in the food and wine industry, with 205 countries participating.
An NGO of Syrian expatriates, Jusoor supports the country's development by helping Syrian youth realise their potential through education, career development and global community engagement. Many of the volunteer teachers are themselves from the Syrian refugee community.
Pan Arab Tech Forum
This year the MIT Enterprise Pan Arab Forum set up an 'Innovate for Refugees' Competition aimed at finding technology solutions to help the 20 million and growing refugees worldwide. 10 finalists, including some from the refugee community, were awarded for tech-driven solutions across healthcare, food, shelter, security education and energy.
Basmeh & Zeitooneh
Operating in Lebanon and Turkey, Basmeh & Zeitooneh ('basmeh' meaning smile in Arabic and 'zeitonneh' meaning love) focuses efforts in those areas poorly served by other aid organisations. The organisation gets support to areas neglected by other aid organisations. Today Basmeh & Zeitooneh serves over 15,000 Syrians in Beirut and has centres in Burj Al Barajneh, Tripoli and the Bekaa Valley as well as Gaziantep, Turkey. They recruit over 100 refugees full-time, and facilitate over 150 women to earn their own money producing textiles and other crafts.
Human Rights Watch
A global non-profit, non-governmental human rights organisation established in 1978, Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate fact-finding, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups.
Lighthouse Relief is a Swedish NGO operating with skilled volunteers from all over the world. It provides relief to refugees stranded in Katsikas and Ritsona camps in mainland Greece. Lighthouse Relief gives emergency relief to asylum seekers arriving on the Greek island of Lesvos. It also supports the local residents on Lesvos in restoring their beautiful island through the Lighthouse ECO Relief clean-up project.
RefuAid supports locally led organisations and community groups in order to help respond to evolving demands in the current humanitarian crisis. It supports refugees through working closely with and facilitating better integration with the host communities.
Face Of Humanity
A small independent initiative, Face of Humanity was set up by Saba Ahmed and aims to provide international emergency aid and relief assistance to people in need. Saba has been volunteering in Greece since October 2015 and has helped get aid to the refugees in the Ritsona camp.
A charity with firm roots in Spain, which helps to get aid to the most vulnerable parts of society, we first came across Olvidados in the Katsikas camp in Ioannina, Greece. Olvidados works to get basic necessities including food to refugees. Projects such as breastfeeding clinics and feminine hygiene have been invaluable to those on the ground.
Hands on and responsive to changing needs within the refugee camps, A.I.R.E's volunteers simply roll their sleeves up and get on with improving conditions for the refugees. From construction needs to supplies of basics, this Spanish organisation focuses on how to meet needs best.
Do Your Part
We came across Do Your Part in Onifyta, Greece and were amazed at Lisa Campbell's organisation and ability to meet the needs of the refugees in the camp is such a professional and sensitive way. Do Your Part is a grassroots organisation active in disaster and does what it sets out to do: assists in the first response, relief and recovery of people in need during times of distress. Their aim to make each resident within the Onifyta camp in Greece self-sufficient and confident is exemplary. They actively engage the refugees to help themselves, the psychological benefits of which were witnessed during our filming.
The Greek Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and ASI Europe have formed Adventist Help, a bus-based medical clinic helping refugees in Greece. Responsible for all the medical services in the Oinofyta camp, they work closely with Do Your Part. Their health professionals are invaluable in the camp where often viruses and other illnesses bring more distress to already traumatised refugees.
Refugee Trauma Initiative
RTI works to reduce the trauma and enhance the wellbeing of refugees by offering psychological support to individuals and families living in refugee camps, and training and supporting volunteers working there. Their work is invaluable in helping refugees process some of the trauma they have endured.
music with refugees
As a response to the heart-breaking and disturbing refugee situation, Julia Katarina and Liz Meadows, as Music with Refugees, started things off by completing a one month tour of various locations across Greece, including Thessaloniki, Lesvos, Athens and Kos, bringing some joy and respite by sharing music and song, playing a mix of traditional Arabic and English songs with oud and guitar. Julia also speaks Arabic and can interpret for people and listen to their stories. Hearing and singing familiar songs comforts people, makes them feel more at home and raises their spirits.
Refugee Action Colchester
Upset when hearing what was happening to refugees from all parts of the world and wanting to make a difference, a small group of volunteers came together to form Refugee Action Colchester. The group collect and send aid as well as organise groups of volunteers to Calais. They also welcome refugees to the Colchester area. They're working with other local groups, churches and initiatives and other campaign groups to be a useful part of the Welcome Board for refugee families.
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