Who are we?

History

The African Refugee Development Center (ARDC) is a grassroots, community-based, non-profit organization that was founded in 2004 by African asylum seekers and Israeli citizens, in order to assist, protect and empower African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. To date, the ARDC has served over 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Eritrea, Sudan, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast. 

Vision

To enable and ensure that all refugees and asylum seekers are free from persecution, live in dignity and have an opportunity to realize their aspirations.

Mission

To empower, protect and assist African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel by advocating on their behalf and enabling processes that increase their awareness, ensure participation and inspire policy change.

Core Values

Grassroots

We maintain our status as a grassroots organization through actions and initiatives that spring from the community and delivered to the community, bringing about a sense of ownership, commitment and empowerment. As such, African asylum seekers will always hold key roles in decision-making and management of our organization.

Volunteer Based

We remain largely volunteer-based to maximize our resources and enable fulfilment of our goals and objectives. Our voluteers come from around the world, carrying with them a wealth of experience, and contribute greatly to the sustainability and professionalism of our work. 

Synergy

We actively collaborate with partners in the field for greater impact.

Strategic goals

1.   To safeguard the rights of African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel from harmful and unfair policies that violate international law;

2.    To strengthen the capacity and autonomy of African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel through education, training, professional guidance and action toward a more dignified life; and 

3.     To generate change in public opinion and policy toward African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel by strengthening community leadership and engaging in advocacy, awareness raising, and promotion of reconciliatory dialogue with Israelis.

Strategic Objectives

1.  To create a platform for African asylum seekers in Israel to convey their message to the public and the policy-makers through media and advocacy;

2. To promote impartiality, transparency and consistency in Israel’s asylum policy and procedure;

3. To strengthen the relationship between African asylum seekers in Israel and Israelis through collaborative projects that raise awareness and foster mutual understanding;

4. To increase life standards and self-worth among African asylum seekers by facilitating educational opportunities that will help them achieve their short- and long-term life objectives;

5.  To deliver comprehensive support to African asylum seekers in Israel by promoting integration in state-sponsored healthcare, welfare and education through partnerships with governmental institutions and other nonprofit organizations.

Sponsors & Supporters

The ARDC is currently funded by the Blooms Foundation, the European Commission, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Fund, the New Israel Fund, the Sigrid Rausing Fund, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. The organization also receives capacity building support from Shatil organization and a number of individual monetary and in-kind donations. 

Annually, the ARDC receives 100+ volunteers from Israel and abroad, who contribute their time and energy to help the organization meet its goals and objectives, as well as to execute each and every activity. 

Partner Organizations

The ARDC maintains close partnerships with a variety of community and human rights organizations, governmental and municipal bodies, schools and universities, individuals and businesses. Among its partners are Assaf, CIMI, EWCCHIAS IsraelHotline for Migrant Workers, Kav LaOvedPhysicians for Human RightsThe Refugee Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv UniversityMesila, and others. The ARDC has also been an implementing partner of the UNHCR since 2009.
 

Governing Structure 

The ARDC is headed by Director Solomon Mesghenna, who oversees all internal operations and ensures implementations of or strategic objectives.

The Board of Directors steers the organization, supports its long-term stability and serves as a link to the beneficiary population. Current Board Members are: Chairman Habtom Mehari, Secretary Asaf Calderon and Member Musa Yousef

The Audit Committee provides the financial oversight for the organization and advises the Board of Directors on the budget and financial affairs. 

The ARDC Members make decisions on the strategy and workplan of the organizations, official protocols and give approval for the annual financial report.