Having supported work in the field for a number of years now, Human Aid Now sees the enormous value of small-scale, flexible grassroot projects providing humanitarian help to refugees. These grassroot organisations work in an extremely fluid and often difficult environment.
Grassroot projects addressing basic needs incur running costs such as the rental of a space to convene or store basic necessities, the costs of collecting goods or reaching people, the costs of the food or goods themselves (note: many are received in kind without incurring costs or at a great discount). Human Aid Now regularly provides a donation for such costs. Some donors commit to providing such support and donations which are not earmarked are also used for this purpose.
Human Aid Now also provides support for such grassroot organisations to become more sustainable; and we share good practices and relevant contacts in our network.
After many missions to provide basic necessities to refugees in Greece, Serbia and France, we found one recurring issue: the absence of long-term volunteers on-site. On average volunteers stay one week, which means that the majority of the work is being done by well-meaning but inexperienced people.
Human Aid Now believes a long-term volunteer is the linchpin of truly successful aid. Ensuring efficiency, providing continuity and supporting likewise invaluable short-term volunteers to be as effective as possible during their time on-site. This is why we also support long-term volunteers by providing stipends, enabling them to commit to staying in the field longer.
The stipends Human Aid Now provides to long-term volunteers cover living expenses. We also provide support, advice, access to our charity network, and sharing best practises (e.g. templates concerning agreements with suppliers, or safeguarding policies when dealing with vulnerable people). Often such volunteers are matched with specific donors who are very motivated to support them and whom we inform on the developments in the field.
In a number of projects, refugee volunteers participate in the work, helping out with translation services, cooking, being a liaison with other refugees and providing information in their own languages. This gives the participating refugees a sense of purpose and an opportunity to develop themselves, whilst being of great importance to project.
If you wish to contribute, you can support us by becoming a donor. You can also spread the word, help us enlarge our network, or help us carry out our work itself. If you are interested in getting involved, please let us know!
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Wave Aid started as a group of volunteers working in Thessaloniki, Greece in 2018 to provide for the basic needs of the city’s homeless population, with a specific focus on people on the move. They are open seven days a week, every week of the year.
Habibi Center is an informal education project in the centre of Athens. It aims to equip refugee youth for a brighter future, by providing them with education. The project started in 2016 and is still led by its co-founder Stephanie Martinez, together with Camille Eluard and Alejandro Lafuente.
Since 2020, Just Action runs a Free Market where refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable local residents of Samos have access to healthy food to cook themselves, hygiene items and second hand clothing, which people can choose like in a normal shop.
FAST provides quality first aid to displaced people, migrants and refugees across Northern France and Brussels. FAST strongly believes in the fundamental human right to being treated with dignity and respect and upholds this attitude in its day-to-day efforts helping and assisting people forced from their homes by violence, persecution, and poverty.
Vents Contraires, (“Contrary Winds”), provides drinking water, showers, hygiene products, clothes, sim-cards and phone credits to the displaced people of Ouistreham and Caen in northern France. In addition, they provide a wifi antenna and a powerbank to recharge phones. Having a working phone is vital for people on the move, both to stay in contact with their families and to follow administrative procedures to obtain asylum.