Refugees

Founded to rescue refugees from Nazi Europe in 1933, and continuing to assist Jewish refugees throughout the twentieth century, World Jewish Relief has established an expertise in helping people who are fleeing war and persecution to rebuild their lives, particularly through employment programmes.

The refugee story is close to home for many within the Jewish community and these experiences underpin our response to the current global crisis. In 2015/16 when millions were fleeing Syria, we provided emergency relief including shelter, food and medical care to camps in Greece.  Since then we have run programmes giving Syrian refugee children access to education in Greece and Turkey, founded a Woman's Centre providing a safe space for psycho-social care and established a legal resource centre for unaccompanied minors in Athens.

Our focus has now shifted to employment programmes, based on our expertise in running livelihood programmes in some of the world's poorest Jewish communities and beyond, as well as our founding history of helping Jewish refugees build a new life in Britian where jobs led to integration and the ability to make a positive contribution to society. 

The STEP programme for Syrian refugees in the UK

In 2015 we created and began implementing the Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP) providing personalised support to recently arrived refugees in the UK enabling them to gain regular and sustainable employment.

The bespoke programme is adapted to each individual's needs and helps refugees gain language skills, qualifications and training, as well as providing one-to-one assistance in CV writing, interview skills, finding work or setting up their own business.

Graduates of the programme have found work in a range of sectors including retail, hair and beauty, engineering, education, pharmacy and construction.

We work closely with a number of employers to find suitable positions. These include Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Chiquitos, Costco, Coventry City Council, Leeds City Council, Lloyds Pharmacy, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Timpson, TK Maxx and Waitrose.

STEP is delivered in partnership with Horton Housing Association, The Refugee Council, Coventry City Council, Business in the CommunityThe Entrepreneurial Refugee Network and the Stand Up and Be Counted Theatre Company.

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Thanks to World Jewish Relief’s STEP Programme, I have been able to gain confidence, improve my language skills, achieve qualifications and gain employment within a pharmacy

Nadia, Pharmacist from Syria

Refugees in Greece

There are now over 80,000 refugees in Greece. Unable to legally travel further into Europe, most will remain there, but with the weak economy and shortage of jobs, their prospects are likely to be bleak.

In August 2018 we partnered with The Greek Council for Refugees to roll out STEP Greece, based on our sucessful UK 'Specialist Training and Employment Programme'. The project has established a unique 'one stop shop' for job preparation in the heart of Athens and is the only service there to promote employment through targetted training and individualised coaching.

In it's first year 180 refugees have joined the programme with 35% of them finding employment so far.

This programme is a life changing experience for me. It gave me confidence and helped me find work”

AA, Syrian refugee in Athens who was facing long term unemployment

Jewish Refugees in Ukraine

Since the conflict in Eastern Ukraine began in 2014, more than 10,000 people have been killed and 25,000 injured. Continued violent skirmishes and shelling have led to over 1.8m people fleeing their homes, including thousands of Jews from Donetsk and Lugansk. Most are now living in mainland Ukraine as Internally Displaced People (IDPs) with limited rights.

Our 'Back to Work' and Livelihood courses provide practical training and support for Jewish IDPs, and others in the Jewish community, enabling them to gain suitable skills to help them re-enter the job market.

Galina's Story

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Galina and her son share a single bunk bed in a hostel dormitory

When the shelling started, Galina's only thought was for the safety of her nine year old son Vasiliy. Grabbing just a handful of belongings, she left the home she owned and the business she ran, and fled to Kiev. 

With no money and no work, Galina could only afford a roof over their heads by renting a single bunk bed in a hostel dormitory.

Desperate for work but discovering discrimination against IDPs at every turn, Galina enrolled on our 'Back to Work' course where she received much-needed psychological support and practical training.

Now Galina has found a job and the family are looking forward to a better future.  

Other refugee responses

When crisis strikes, World Jewish Relief launches emergency appeals to raise funds and provide relevant assistance to those most in need. Some of our response includes:

2018 Rohingya Refugees. 1,239 food parcels provided to Rohingya refugees displaced into Bangladesh.

2018 Ethiopian Refugees. 400,000 litres of clean water supplied to Ethiopian refugees displaced by conflict in Northern Kenya.

2017 South Sudanese Refugees. 600 South Sudanese refugee women and adolescent girls in Northern Uganda assisted with psychological and small business support.