Cablegate: Project Proposal for the Prm Ambassador's Fund for Refugees


DE RUEHTV #1191/01 1561258
R 041258Z JUN 08



E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary. Post is pleased to endorse the African
Refugee Development Center's (ARDC) project proposal to
establish a community center for African asylum-seekers in
Israel. Over 10,000 African asylum-seekers have entered
Israel in the past two years. While UNHCR is working with
Israeli authorities to receive, register and interview this
population, UNHCR Representative Steven Wolfson acknowledges
that UNHCR is unable to fulfill an important need, namely
legal aid, health and education services and basic
assistance. ARDC currently operates shelters for refugees in
Tel Aviv and hopes to establish a community center that would
provide a safe environment for African asylum-seekers to
access cultural orientation classes, Hebrew language
training, job placement assistance, and psycho-social
counseling. End Summary.

African Refugee Development Center (ARDC)

2. (SBU) ARDC was founded in 2004 by Yohannes Lemma, an
Ethiopian refugee who entered Israel in 1999 as an
asylum-seeker and is now a legal resident of Israel. Lemma
works a night job in Jerusalem and spends his days in Tel
Aviv helping others like himself. His dedication has
inspired scores of Israelis and other expatriates, including
lawyers, social workers, and doctors, to volunteer for ARDC.

3. (SBU) To date, ARDC activities have focused exclusively on
providing shelter to newly-arrived asylum-seekers, but that
was not Lemma's vision or intention when he founded the
organization. ARDC's goals are to promote humane and fair
policies on the reception, protection and integration of
asylum-seekers and refugees; to assist refugees and
asylum-seekers in leading independent, productive, and
dignified lives; to facilitate their participation and
empowerment of refugees and asylum-seekers through their
inclusion in education opportunities, the labor market and
health care; and to facilitate the integration in and
interaction with Israeli society through cultural exchange
and bridging programs.

Project Proposal: An Educational Program for Asylum-Seekers
--------------------------------------------- --------------

4. (SBU) ARDC is requesting $19,889 to support the
establishment of a community center where African
asylum-seekers can come for cultural orientation, Hebrew
language classes, job placement, and counseling. The program
will specifically focus on children's needs through a
"Children's Place" providing a pre-school and drop-in program
for ages 3-12 years and a "Life Skills Program" for youth
ages 13-18 years providing Hebrew language classes, computer
training, sports, and field trips promoting an understanding
of Israeli culture. ARDC estimates that 30-35 youth will
immediately benefit from one-on-one care and counseling by a
professional volunteer social worker and a mentoring program
that will join refugee children with local Israeli mentors.

5. (SBU) ARDC has identified volunteer teachers,
psychologists, and social workers who will deliver the
services and programs. Extensive media coverage of this
issue in Israel has led to dozens of Israelis volunteering
for ARDC; the organization is now in the privileged position
of "picking and choosing" its volunteer manpower. For the
first year, the activities will take place in a core facility
consisting of 4 rooms provided for a fee by a local community
center. The facility will feature a small community library
with study materials and an adjoining study room for the

6. (SBU) Total program cost for the community center is
$100,179, which includes renting a four-room facility, salary
for a part-time coordinator, supplies (e.g., books, art
supplies, educational materials) and equipment (e.g.,
computers, furniture, copier). PRM support is specifically
requested for rent ($9,257), utilities ($3,086), books
($1,930), art supplies ($2,286), and field trips ($1,200)
with a 12% overhead of $2,131. In addition to the
Ambassador's Fund request of $19,889, ARDC is seeking support
from private foundations and individuals. Thus far, ARDC has
successfully raised $56,110, much of it in-kind support, such
as computers and furniture, from Israeli organizations, and
has been approved for $2,650 of support through the
PD-administered Small Grants program.

7. (SBU) Post requests the Department to consider funding the
ARDC project proposal as it fills an unmet gap in assistance
to African asylum-seekers in Israel. If PRM approves this
project, Post certifies that it has the authority and
capacity to award a grant to ARDC.

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