African Refugee Development Center
The African Refugee Development Center is a grassroots, community-based nonprofit organization that was founded in 2004 by African asylum-seekers and Israeli citizens in order to protect, assist, and empower African refugees and asylum-seekers in Israel. ARDC began its work as a humanitarian aid organization, and over time has adapted to fit community needs. Currently, ARDC works to address gaps in services created by harsh governmental policies in 4 key sectors: education, livelihoods, advocacy, and rights empowerment. To date, ARDC has served over 15,000 asylum-seekers from a number of countries and operates various educational programs seeking to deepen the social and economic inclusion of asylum-seekers throughout Israel.
The economic inclusion program fosters practical, skills-based opportunities in order to build community capacity, and provide relevant professional development opportunities. The program aims to increase access to skills-based and vocational courses in Israeli markets that currently need workers through certified training. The impact of the program extend beyond the economic mobility of African asylum-seekers: by harnessing the power of successes in the professional sphere, the program creates an effective tool to truly impact public opinion. Our latest projects in this field include coding courses and manicure pedicure course for women.
The goal of ARDC's educational program is to enable African asylum seekers and refugees in Israel to develop professionally, educationally and personally. Our projects in this field include language classes, pre-academic studies, partnering with academic institutions, providing scholarships and more. In addition to that, the ARDC operates a nationwide tutoring service, in which more than 100 asylum seekers meet with a personal tutor on a weekly basis. The ARDC also operates various tailored educational projects for youth and women.
The ARDC Community Engagement program is dedicated to asylum seekers who live in the periphery of Israel. The program includes monthly visits to different cities with an asylum seeker community, where our team informs the community about their different educational opportunities in the area. Through our visits, we detect problems and map the needs of the spread-out asylum seeker community, and use this information for developing new solutions and new programs. Another part of our community engagement program is our reception, which is open twice a week for every asylum seeker who wants our assistance.
The ARDC conducts and participates in various community events and activities. Through partnering with artists and other organisations, we organised a refugee day festival, a women day festival, and a local art forum made of Israelis, internationals and asylum seekers. Some of our enrichment projects include workshops for asylum seeker high school graduates, and a unique holocaust history workshop, created following requests by asylum seekers who wished to learn more about the Jewish history during the second world war.