Updated: May 3
David Altschuler, executive chairman of One to One Children's Fund, co-founder of Refugee Trauma Initiative & founding member of JRAN explains why JRAN exists.
JRAN did not come out of nowhere.
It is emerged out of learnings and experience of working in challenging contexts, which time and again, have shown us that togetherness is so much more powerful than our individual efforts.
For the past 20 years at One to One Children’s Fund, we have worked with refugees and traumatised communities in Kosovo, India, Africa and more recently, with young refugees here in the UK. And as a co-founder of Refugee Trauma Initiative (RTI) in Greece, I have also been privileged to facilitate trauma counselling activities in Lesbos, Thessaloniki and refugee camps in Northern Greece, including Idomeni.
We’ve met some incredibly inspiring organisations and people along the way and it’s the feeling of togetherness that has been most energising and inspiring of all. Togetherness - as organisations helping each other, and togetherness with the refugees whose plight could so easily have been ours.
Togetherness - as organisations helping each other, and togetherness with the refugees, whose plight could so easily have been ours.
So when Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg invited leaders of refugee organisations in his New North London Synagogue community to a Zoom meeting to coordinate activities, it sparked the idea of initiating a wider action network to reach beyond our community, in a multi-faith context.
JRAN has been modelled on our successful PATA HIV network in Africa - to mobilise, strengthen and take joint action to bring about positive change in refugee related policy and service delivery, and ultimately transform refugee lives by supporting those who are best placed to help refugees integrate and reach their potential in their newly adopted country.
It was wonderful to have a cross-section of 35 refugee organisations in the UK represented at our first JRAN forum.
We are all founder members of JRAN, with a mission to make an even greater impact on refugee lives through shared values, joint advocacy and innovative service delivery models.
We are looking forward to creating a community of organisations that will help and support each other as this sector faces challenges and celebrates successes. Together.