Protection and Self-Reliance

Protection and Self-Reliance

Enabling dignity in urban displacement and informal camps

Gaza: Refugee Protection International (RPI) and long-time Middle East partner charity Kids Paradise (KP) are supporting community volunteers to procure food supplies and prepare hot meals for Gaza’s internally displaced women and children. 12 community kitchens have been set up in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip by volunteers under the RPI-supported KP Malak Fund. Meals include rice, beans, lentils, more fresh vegetables and proteins. Please help us to reach a $250,000 Gaza food aid campaign goal. As of April 9, 2024, over $211,000 has been raised by the generous GoFundMe community. Donate here.

RPI and KP are launching emergency multi-purpose cash assistance (EMPCA) for highly vulnerable civilians in Gaza, such as women and children with disabilities and medical needs. All selected participants will be cross-checked against inter-agency aid lists for deduplication with other EMPCA and Cash for Work activities. RPI also aims to support to mental health providers on both sides of the Gaza-Israel conflict, pending partners and access.

Syria Regional Humanitarian Crisis: In 2019, RPI co-designed a self-reliance program with Turkey-based partner Kids Paradise whose key components continue today. These include livelihoods skills training (amigurumi, soap production) and psychosocial support (PSS) for war-displaced Syrian women and relief and PSS support for displaced children. RPI expanded self-reliance collaboration to refugee-led partner Multi Aid Programs (MAPS), which had a similar program serving Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and to Ukrainian partner The Way Home Odessa Charity in 2023.

RPI has sold a quarter million USD in primarily refugee-made products in this program, as well as some donated crafts from 70 artists around the globe. This humanitarian cash-for-work program supports women’s income and training stipends with community-based partners. In Lebanon, the program also supports non-formal primary education in the Syrian refugee camps, and in northern Syria it also supports hygiene supplies for displaced children through our Turkey-led refugee-led partner. After the 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquakes, these efforts were expanded.

Turkey-Syria Earthquake: RPI aided its community-led partners to assist over 21,093 earthquake survivors in Syria (Idlib, Aleppo regions) and Turkey (Kahramanmaras, Antakya, Reyhanli, Gaziantep regions) in the initial weeks after the Feb 2023 earthquakes. Over 12,874 persons received RPI-supported emergency food aid or winter clothing thanks to our Turkey-based refugee-led partners Kids Paradise and Olive Branch NGO. Earthquake aid went to Syrian and Turkish survivors. We have since supported PSS for quake survivors through rapid response health and nutrition teams in northwest Syria with our Turkey-based refugee-led partner HIA and expanded the livelihoods program with KP.

Ukraine: RPI helps Ukrainian civilians escape war’s southeastern frontlines in Mykolaiv, Kherson, rural Zaporizhzhia region, and further east. RPI procures and delivers minibuses and large vehicles to assist its Ukrainian charity partners to launch or expand civilian evacuations. In many cases, RPI also supports relief items and fuel. Evacuations are critical. RPI has seen firsthand the medical consequences for children unable to flee occupied villages. Challenges include war-damaged vehicles, Russian military checkpoints, active hostilities, access to affordable diesel, and fear.

By August, 2022 this program had already evacuated some 2,000+ Ukrainian civilians to the borders of Moldava and Romania. Beginning in March 2022, RPI also helped coordinate and fully fund the medical evacuations of 53 surrogate infants from central Ukraine to their foreign biological parents on the western border with Romania. This initiative was coordinated with the key involvement of Ukrainian partners BioTexCom, Dobrobut Medical Center, whose nursing team and daring drivers made the evacuation runs, the receiving Chernivtsi Regional Clinical Hospital, and with Romanian consular authorities, who helped parents secure the birth certificates and travel documents needed for the infants to cross the border. NBC Boston, CBS Channel 4, Belmont Journal, WGBH Boston, and NewsNation’s Morning in America Show covered these evacuation efforts.

RPI remains deeply concerned for the emotional well-being of Ukraine’s children. RPI has visited pediatric inpatients being treated for PTSD, panic disorders, and general anxiety due to the war. Some had sheltered underground as their evacuation train was shelled, killing its conductor. Others heard relentless explosions and shelling in the devastated cities of southeastern Ukraine. Add to this the stress of displacement, continued air raid sirens, and frequent separation from family members, and the situation is dire. RPI will support Ukrainian charities and hospitals to deliver psychosocial and psychiatric support to children and youth.

Earlier Support in the Middle East: Since late 2015, RPI has also helped to address the protection crises experienced by conflict-affected Syrian civilians through RPI’s refugee-led partners based in neighboring countries. Inside Syria, children have experienced relentless exposure to aerial bombardment and shelling and loss of loved ones. In neighboring countries, Syrian refugees have fled to urban centers or informal settlements to earn a livelihood. Yet, too often they lack the civil documentation, skills training, and support needed to access decent work, housing, and public services, leaving children at risk of child labor, early marriage, and mental health issues. In Sanliurfa, Turkey, RPI co-designed the partner-run 2-year counseling, case management and legal awareness program for Syrian refugees in need of temporary protection documentation and other support in order to access host country services. RPI co-designed launched a similar partner-run program in Lebanon that assisted Syrian refugee children born in Lebanon to obtain a legal status, e.g. 4-step birth certificate, and better access education and health services. RPI has also enabled partner-run psychosocial support (PSS) and mental health care in Antakya, Turkey and PSS in Syria.

In sum, RPI and its grassroots partners have met 62,769 protection and self-reliance needs (excluding ongoing Gaza relief) by:

  • Launching and supporting civilian evacuations from areas of active hostility in Ukraine
  • Delivering food aid and relief items to displaced orphans, children with disabilities, IDP hostels, frontline villages, and border reception areas in Ukraine
  • Counseling and financially aiding Syrian refugees in Lebanon to complete birth registration to facilitate access to schools and advanced health care
  • Providing displaced Syrian children with psychosocial support and individual mental health sessions or referrals to psychologists in Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria
  • Supporting the income-generation capacity of female-headed refugee households and victims of violence
  • Providing transitional housing, protection, and other social support to vulnerable refugee women and children
  • Providing psychosocial support to refugee women and civilians affected by the Beirut explosion in August 2020
  • Providing Syrian refugees in Turkey with guidance on documentation procedures and referrals to service providers to legitimize and support their stay
  • Providing individual case management: interpretation/translation, accompaniment to service providers, and support with completing application forms
  • Encouraging collaboration among our local partners and other nonprofit, private sector, and municipal stakeholders
  • Planning for post-conflict information and counseling on housing, land, and property restitution and reparation

  • Counseling and Case Management

    6,785 Syrians in Turkey received consultations on how to access documentation (temporary protection; work permits through employers) and job-seeking, medical, legal, relief, and educational services. 220 Syrian refugees in Lebanon were supported with birth registration.

  • Supporting Mental Health

    Over 1,021 refugees, IDPs, and locals have participated in psychosocial support or individual mental health programming in Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey.

  • Strengthening Livelihoods that Give Back

    8,949 displaced Syrians in Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria received goods or services as a result of vocational/livelihoods skills training, materials, and distribution support provided to 434 refugees and IDPs in teaching, first aid, nursing, psychosocial support, soap/toy/packaging production, sewing, and the use of eco-friendly heating/cooking fuel. In addition, 3,050 refugees received intensive language training in host countries and 647 children in Syria received winter clothing.

RPI partners with Ukrainian charities The Way Home (Odessa) and Happy Child Foundation (Zaporizhzhia) to expand civilian evacuations from closer to the frontlines.








Loading posts...