Last Wednesday was World Refugee Day. At ARK we remain committed to supporting refugees and are very proud that as of September this year we will have been working with Palestinian refugees, particularly youth, for a decade. Our programmes have focused on youth agency and opportunity, education, employment and inclusion, governance, psychosocial and mental health, legal aid, civil defence, vocational training and alternative dispute resolution.
Since 2011 we have also supported Syrian refugees both in the region (in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan) but also further afield as project partners, staff and friends have settled in Canada, the UK, France, Holland, Germany and Norway. Last month I was in Toronto with our former colleague Amjad, now settled in Canada after an often-perilous journey from Turkey. From developing new outlets for his artistic talents as rapper Ref.J to collaborating with us on a new film about the conflict in Syria, it was great to see him thriving.
On Wednesday evening I also had the opportunity to speak to the Justice and Equality group convened by The Conduit (https://theconduit.com/), a new enterprise in London focusing on generating positive social impact. We discussed the extent of the refugee challenge and I look forward to developing with The Conduit innovative ways to leverage private sector resources to help refugees lead productive, purposeful lives.