Helping people survive and recover from forced displacement

Strategic & Contextualized Solutions

We don't believe in one-size-fits-all solutions to many of life's challenges, so we don't do the same thing everywhere we serve. We do believe in highly contextualized responses that fill strategic gaps and strengthen the well-being, resilience and fortitude of our forcibly displaced friends. While this requires a lot of creative innovation on our part, we are encouraged to see how these initiatives are helping people survive and recover from forced displacement.

If you already know what project you would like to support,

Click on a project below to learn more about it

Bibles for Refugees

Kakuma Pastors with their new Bibles

We are putting Bibles into the hands of our refugee friends.

Many refugees are Christians. But few churches in refugee camps and settlements have access to more than a handful of Bibles - especially one in their mother tongue. Many long to have a personal Bible of their own during this difficult time in their lives.

Together, we can put a Bible into the hands of a refugee in Africa for just $16/per Bible (including shipping costs). Bibles are provided in the preferred languages of the recipients.

Each Bible is an investment in their faith and lets them know that they are not forgotten by the church at large.

Building: Refugee Churches

A refugee church in Kalobeyei refugee settlement near Kakuma, Kenya

We help refugee churches in refugee camps construct buildings for worship and ministry.

As refugees are often located in places with inhospitable conditions, their churches often fall into disrepair as roofing is blown away, termites destroy wooden beams, and rains washout mud walls.

Church buildings play an essential role in refugee communities throughout the week. Physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met in these sacred spaces. Hope is kept alive.

This project fund enables us to respond to building needs quickly.

Building: Athens Center Remodel

The Athens Medical and Ministry Center

We are assisting our Greek ministry partner, One Heart, with the remodeling of their recently acquired building in downtown Athens.

The One Heart building serves as the base of their diverse ministries and services for refugees and asylum seekers including their medical clinics, job skill training opportunities, legal assistance and advice, cultural events, integration support, etc. The building also hosts a Farsi speaking refugee church.

Building: Ebenezer Academy - Dzaleka

Recent scholarship recipients in Dzaleka

We are investing in a refugee led initiative to help solve the education challenge in Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

The most consistent cry we have heard from our refugee friends in Dzaleka over the past few years is “our children our dying.” Parents, pastors, even youth who are caring for their smaller siblings have all shared with us the pain of seeing so many kids in the camp not going to school. They are afraid of the future, afraid that the minds of these children will be lost.

Every effort is being made by stakeholders, community groups, churches, and parents to find solutions, but the problem is larger than even all that is currently being done.

IAFR is excited to partner with a group of educators from the refugee and host community who are looking to build a new set of classrooms to provide more space for children to learn.

Building: KISOM School (Kakuma)

The KISOM school building in Kakuma

We are helping our refugee partner, United Refugee and Host Churches (URHC) build their Kakuma Interdenominational School of Mission (KISOM) in Kakuma, Kenya.

KISOM is the only school of its kind in the Kakuma region. It was started by refugees in 1997 in response to the need to train pastors, church leaders and missionaries. After 20 years of prayer, God answered their need for a suitable building for the school.

IAFR hopes to help them build several classrooms and a kitchen in phase II of the project.

Education: Scholarships - Dzaleka

Recent scholarship recipients in Dzaleka

We are sponsoring 4 students from the refugee and host community through 4 years of university in Malawi. We do so in collaboration with our local ministry partner, There Is Hope.

Many refugees are qualified to pursue college but are prevented by their isolation from society and a lack of necessary resources. The result is only 1% of refugees get such an education (in comparison with 36% of the global population).

University scholarships open up a new world of possibilities for refugees, whether they integrate into Malawian society, return to their homeland or resettle to another country.

Education: Scholarships - Kakuma

Refugees learn about their newly awarded high school scholarships in Kakuma

We are sponsoring refugee and IDP girls through high school in Kenya.

Only 23% of refugee adolescents go to high school. This is not because they don't want to go to school. The primary barrier is cost (e.g. school fees, uniforms, books, transportation, etc.). The need is greatest among refugee girls in Kenya.

A high school education is life-transforming, opening up a new world of possibilities to these students and their families. Whether they one day return to their homeland, or get resettled to another country or integrate into Kenya, these scholarships give them a foundation for a future of potential.

Education: Trauma Care Training

Trauma Care Training in Kakuma Refugee Camp

It is nothing short of traumatic to be forced to flee your home and country. Trauma is often compounded while living in refugee camps or awaiting approval of an asylum claim, as people remain vulnerable and uprooted. Although the resiliency of many refugees is high, emotional wounds from traumatic experiences, grief, and loss need to be resolved in contextualized and socially appropriate ways.

Refugee pastors and community leaders often seek better understanding and tools to care for those that suffer from unresolved trauma. They know that even for those who struggle the most, resiliency can be strengthened and healing can happen.

Livelihoods: Small Business (Dzaleka)

Launching a new business in Dzaleka opens up many new opportunities in life

We are investing in small scale business ventures of refugees in Dzaleka refugee camp (Malawi) and people from the surrounding host community.

Not only does such work help afford basic necessities like food. It also provides a personal sense of agency in a world that continually identifies refugees only as "people in need". Work meets a real need while helping restore dignity and personal resilience.

Livelihoods: Vocational Training (Dzaleka)

Refugees learning carpentry skills in Dzaleka

We are helping provide job skill training in carpentry, brick-laying, tailoring, welding and other relevant skills for refugees and people from the surrounding host community.

These skills can open up employment opportunities for refugees while also meeting a need for such workers in the local economy. And such employment increases their ability to meet the needs of their families while affirming dignity and strengthening personal resilience.

Medical: Refugee Medical Assistance Fund

IAFR's Sharon Tonzo visits a refugee in hospital

We help provide pharmaceuticals and medical care for refugees and asylum seekers in active IAFR ministry locations where access to medications and services are severely limited.

The Refugee Medical Assistance Fund makes it possible for IAFR to response to medical emergencies in any of our IAFR ministry locations as they arise.

2020 initiatives include getting pharmaceuticals to the health clinic in Dzaleka refugee camp (Malawi) and support of the Athens medical clinic hosted by our partner agency, One Heart.

Medical: Athens

A newborn asylum seeker receives basic health care in the Athens clinic

We are assisting our Greek ministry partner, One Heart, with their medical programs for refugees and asylum seekers in the Athens region.

Together with One Heart, we are making sure that refugees and asylum seekers have access to the medical care, including check ups, lab tests, and the medications that they need.

One Heart collaborates with Greek medical professionals in facilitating these essential health services.

Refugee Welcome Centre (Lille)

Transforming a French service garage into a local church and refugee welcome centre in Lille

IAFR has created a safe and welcoming space for refugees and asylum seekers in Lille, in which we offer community, encourage local integration, and strengthen faith.

We offer language courses, access to computers/internet, computer training, and diverse community and cultural gatherings.

It is among the few safe spaces in which refugees, asylum seekers, locals and IAFR teammates can connect in ways that encourage and benefit one another.

Refugee Youth Camp (Kakuma)

Worship time at Refugee Youth Camp, Kakuma

We sponsor and participate in the annual Refugee Youth Camp led by our Kakuma partner, United Refugee and Host Churches (URHC).

URHC's annual Refugee Youth Camp strengthens the faith of refugee youth and encourages them to lead whole and healthy lives.

By bringing a diverse group of youth together, Camp also plays an important role in peace building as they discover that their identity in Christ enables them to transcend ethnic and tribal identities.

Shelter: Athens

A makeshift rooftop shelter in Athens

We are helping our Greek ministry partner, One Heart, provide safe temporary shelter for refugees and asylum seekers in Athens.

One Heart prioritizes assistance for refugees and asylum seekers who have applied for asylum in Greece but who are not yet receiving monthly cash benefits from UNHCR. As the need is great, One Heart's current focus is on assisting those with whom they have a relationship through the Farsi Church they serve in Athens.

We hope to grow the financial capacity of this program to eventually assist other refugees and asylum seekers in need of temporary shelter in the Athens region.

Shelter: Jonathan House (MSP)

A resident receives shelter in Jonathan House (St. Paul, MN)

The Jonathan House ministry provides stable housing, personal capacity building and supportive community to asylum seekers in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Though lawfully in the US, asylum seekers are initially not permitted to work nor do they have access to governmental assistance. This leaves them especially vulnerable. Access to safe stable, housing during this time is one of their greatest needs.

Strategic Worker: Nicholas Gagai (Kakuma)

Nicholas Gagai in Kakuma

IAFR is supporting Nicholas Gagai, a strategic full-time worker serving with our refugee partner agency in Kakuma (United Refugee and Host Churches - URHC).

In 2008, Nicholas relocated himself to Kakuma in response to post election violence in his homeland of Kenya. He's been serving with URHC ever since.

Nicholas is the Director of URHC's Kakuma Interdenominational School of Mission (KISOM) and their Director of Youth Ministry. IAFR invests in both of these strategic ministries.

Water: Kenya Water Project (Kakuma)

How IDP in Kakuma must fetch water until a solution is found

We are bringing a supply of clean water to a camp of over 4,000 internally displaced people (IDP) in the semi-desert outside of the town of Kakuma, Kenya.

The people in the IDP Camp fled their homes due to rampant post election violence in 2007. The government put them in a camp that has no local supply of clean water. The health of the people suffers.

Refugees in nearby Kakuma camp first asked IAFR if we would somehow help provide water for these people. Our hope is the water will flow before the end of 2021.

Be sure to visit the project's page for important progress updates.

Completed Projects

The following is a list of some of the projects IAFR has completed over the years. We are deeply grateful to our financial partners that made these projects possible.

  • Refugee Mill Project (2011) - Provision of diesle powered mills to a refugee church as an income-generation solution to help resource their ministries
  • Emergency food assistance (2013) - to offset a severe drop in rations in Dzaleka refugee camp, Malawi
  • URHC Documentation Project (2014) - We partnered with the Humanitarian Disaster Institute to document how are diverse association of refugee churches in Kakuma refugee camp contributed to security, peacekeeping, and social cohesion
  • Refugee for Life (2016) - A book telling the true story of Innocent Magambi, a former refugee from Burundi
  • Laptops for Refugee Church Leaders (2017) - IAFR provided 3 laptops to the leaders of United Refugee and Host Churches, an association of diverse churches in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya
  • IDP Poultry Project (2017) - IAFR built a poultry facility in Turkana West IDP Camp to increase the productivity of a grassroots co-op of women
  • Trauma Care Training (2018) - IAFR enabled the Humanitarian Disaster Institute to provide basic trauma care training to over 25 refugee church leaders in Kakuma refugee camp
  • KISOM Building (2019) - IAFR completed phase 1 of building the Kakuma Interdenominational School of Mission (KISOM) in Kakuma, Kenya. KISOM is a refugee led training center equipping pastors and church leaders for ministry.
  • Emergency Food and Hygiene Assistance (2021) - IAFR provided emergency food and hygiene (soap) assistance for refugees and host communities in Malawi and Kakuma during the Covid pandemic.
  • Ebenezer Academy Building (2021) - IAFR completed phase 1 of helping refugees build an elementary school in Dzaleka refugee camp.
  • Shelter for Refugees (2021) - IAFR completed a long-term project that built 153 shelters for people in the Turkana West IDP Camp in Kakuma, Kenya.
  • Kakuma Water Project (2021) - IAFR completed a long-term project that is now providing potable water to people in Kakuma. The project included a borehole, solar pump, miles of piping, an elevated reservoir, and a water kiosk in the local community.

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