In first, IsraAID brings COVID-19 support to vulnerable communities in Israel

13 April, 2020

NGO launches coronavirus response for South Tel Aviv’s asylum seekers and foreign workers

Israeli humanitarian aid agency IsraAID is, for the first time in its history, providing urgent aid to Israel’s vulnerable communities. On Sunday, April 12, IsraAID distributed 170 resilience kits to foreign nationals living in South Tel Aviv, in partnership with Unitaf. Migrant workers, asylum seekers, and other non-Israeli citizens are particularly vulnerable amid the COVID-19 shutdown, with limited income sources, no available childcare, and major gaps in access to key public health information.

IsraAID conducted this distribution in partnership with Unitaf, a unique educational framework that brings together the Tel Aviv Municipality, Israeli professionals, and women from the migrant and refugee communities to provide early childhood learning centers. 170 households in South Tel Aviv received resilience kits including self-care activities for parents, stress relief activities for children, and expressive art materials to support psychosocial needs.

In addition, IsraAID and Unitaf held a free toy market for parents to select puzzles, books, balls, and other games for their children to use at home; volunteers dropped kits outside the homes of those who could not arrive at distribution centers. Toys and other items were donated by dozens of Israeli families, collected from multiple cities across Israel.

IsraAID has never before implemented programming in Israel. The non-governmental organization, headquartered in Tel Aviv, has 14 long-term missions spanning Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. IsraAID’s teams across these locations are working to combat the spread of COVID-19 and the organization has recently launched programs in Italy, China, and the United States to assist frontline workers and “help the helpers.” IsraAID pioneered this approach during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing stress management workshops to health and social workers at the heart of the response to the epidemic.

Yotam Polizer, IsraAID’s CEO, said: “IsraAID is committed to supporting vulnerable communities around the globe throughout the response and recovery efforts amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although our humanitarian efforts are usually focused on the international sphere, given the current, unprecedented situation, we saw our added value in providing integrated psychosocial support, protection, and education services to South Tel Aviv’s asylum seeker and migrant worker community and are honored to partner with Unitaf in launching this program. We hope to continue providing this type of support in the future in locations heavily affected by the ongoing situation, including in Israel, if needed.”

Donations to support IsraAID’s disaster relief efforts can be made through the IsraAID Emergency Response Fund.

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