Many people who want to help refugees through financial support, donations of humanitarian aid, or volunteering their time may automatically think of large well-known organizations to reach out to for support. However, there are many smaller non-profit organizations that do wonderful work to help refugees and could use the support to keep their great projects going. Here are some of my favorite non-profit organizations helping refugees. I have personally volunteered with all of these organizations or spoken with the founders and can vouch for the incredible work they do!
1. Hopes for Women in Education – Toronto and Amman
Hopes for Women in Education is a non-profit and volunteer based non-governmental organization, registered in Canada and Jordan, operating in the Middle East, to provide financial and non-financial support to underprivileged, refugee, displaced and non-status women in becoming self-sustainable and financially independent. This organization helps women through allocation of scholarships for higher education studies in both colleges and universities, conducting soft skills training, forging mentorship for growth, as well as facilitating internship placements. Co-founders Noora Sharrab and Dr. Hassan El-Awour started this organization after realizing there was a gap that needed to be filled in order to help vulnerable populations of women have a chance at education and a better life. Noora lived for months in the Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, where she saw firsthand the vulnerable demographic of females who were unable to continue their higher education due to socio-economic conditions and cultural taboos. As a Palestinian woman, originally from Gaza, she felt that their overall right to education and empowerment were intrinsically linked to her own. By aiding women in gaining education, her vision was that she was not only impacting them directly, but also their society at large. The women supported through Hopes for Women in Education will be able to have jobs, be self-sustainable, make stronger choices for marriage and lifestyle, and raise their children with awareness. For more information about Hopes for Women in Education and to donate/volunteer, please visit: https://hopesforwomen.org/.
2. Refuge Coffee Company – Clarkston, Georgia
Refuge Coffee Co. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit business which exists to serve the global community in Clarkston through coffee-related job creation, job training, social networking, and commerce. The founders of Refuge Coffee Company dream of a more vibrant Clarkston, one where refugees have opportunities to thrive and where people from greater Atlanta and beyond discover the multi-textured beauty of a global culture locally. Refugees are resilient, so Refuge Coffee Company aims to help the local, national, and international community see this resilience. The goal is to join in the task of empowering the community’s refugee friends to use their many gifts to help create refuge. The mission is to provide employment and job-training opportunities to resettled refugees, to create a unique, welcoming gathering place in Clarkston, and to tell a more beautiful refugee story to Atlanta. The red coffee truck is the iconic symbol of hope for Refuge Coffee Company, and is run by refugees who are given job training and support, to help them meet new people and develop a sense of community, while being able to help support their families. Founder Kitti Murray wanted to help make people feel at home and spread her agenda of love and kindness. She and her team do a great job of making Clarkston feel like home. For more information about Refugee Coffee Company and to donate/volunteer, please visit: http://refugecoffeeco.com/.
3. Project Hope 4 Kids – Filipiada, Greece
Project Hope 4 Kids is a non-governmental, humanitarian organization working to help refugees by creating sustainable projects in the field as well as gathering and distributing aid to displaced populations in Greece and beyond. Since June 2016, Project Hope 4 Kids has been working exclusively in a refugee camp in Northern Greece setting up and running an in-formal education program for the children in the camp, ages 5 – 15 years old. This education program includes Mathematics, English, and The Arts. To help them cope with the trauma they have experienced, Project Hope 4 Kids runs art workshops for the children to attend, since art is incredibly beneficial to all children to engage creativity. By providing these refugee children with a safe place to create this art and to use their imaginations, it has proven to be both healing and extremely educational for them. Project Hope 4 Kids is a small, grassroots, 100% volunteer driven group, who are like minded individuals who wanted to try to make a small difference in the face of this enormous crisis. They believe wholeheartedly that everyone deserves the right to peace, safety, freedom, and the right to an education. For more information about Project Hope 4 Kids or to donate/volunteer, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/projecthope4kids/.
“They believe education is the tool by which the world is changed…”
4. Design4Refugees – Atlanta, Georgia
Design4Refugees is a registered non-profit organization founded by sisters Kurdeen and Soleen Karim. They believe education is the tool by which the world is changed, thus they are dedicated to facilitating learning at any age through any medium. Their vision is to broaden the reach of refugees during displacement and after, and they aim to empower refugees through direct involvement in projects alongside each individual. Design4Refugees offers the funding, the tools, and the services necessary for each refugee to rebuild their life. Their efforts range from redeveloping the built environment and educating refugees of any age about the ways they can rebuild their life. Examples include: building refugee run schools and community centers, designing courses for refugees, and provided other refugee services. Their goal is to provide sustainable, refugee driven services that will not only change refugees lives, but give them agency. Current projects by Design4Refugees includes running a school in Charmo Camp, Chamchamal Iraq-Kurdistan, rebuilding schools and community centers in war-torn regions, and facilitating Technology, Art, and Design workshops for refugee women in Clarkston, Georgia. They are currently looking to expand their projects into Jordan, as well. For more information about Design4Refugees and to donate/volunteer, please visit: https://www.design4refugees.org/.
5. One Love حب واحد – Jordan
One Love – حب واحد is a grassroots group of volunteers of different nationalities, religions, and backgrounds, who are joined in their love for Gaza Camp in Jerash, Jordan. Gaza Refugee Camp is home to over 24,000 registered Palestinian refugees who have been living there since 1967. After starting a small winter campaign together in December 2014, founders Khaled Shakaa and Hiba Khoury Al Muna decided to turn this campaign into something ongoing, something even greater, and since then they have expanded in scope. Current projects consist of renovating homes within Gaza Refugee Camp, providing scholarships for refugee students, and doing volunteer activities with the kids. These volunteer activities include art projects, dabka lessons, tutoring, crafts, story telling, and mentoring the younger kids. In addition, One Love – حب واحد is currently working on funding the renovation of two centers in Gaza Refugee Camp. One will be a vocational center in which the men and women in the camp will be able to learn different skills such as computer coding, carpentry, sewing, embroidery, and horticulture through a rooftop garden. The other center will be a community center for children in the camp to be able to learn music, art, drama, and other creative endeavors. For more information about One Love – حب واحد and to donate/volunteer, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/GazaCamp/.