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Part of a series from R. Nuri, UNHCR Innovation

Abdi Osman - Helping Refugees Recover

Abdi shows off some of his bountiful crops. © UNHCR Innovation/R. Nuri

“This is the best harvest ever since I started working as a farmer fifteen years ago,” said 50-year-old Abdi Osman from Kobe, Ethiopia. “When I planted the bulbs four months ago I never would have expected to harvest 32 tons of onions.” That comes out to 640 sacks containing 50 kg in each sack.

Abdi is one of 2,900 locals who live in and around Kobe refugee camp at the Ethiopia-Somalia border. UNHCR and partners supported Abdi to create a micro-farm cooperative with a refugee workforce. Since August 2012, ten refugees found a job in Abdi’s farm.

“Their skills and farming techniques have been a blessing for my farm,” said Abdi while adding that his land has previously produced no crop other than maize. “The refugees turned my farm into a fertile land for tomatoes, watermelons and onions.”

The cooperative system is enabling the refugees and the host communities share skills and benefit from each other’s assets. “No matter the volume of the harvest, I share 50% of the profit with the refugees farming my land,” said Abdi. “Skilled workforce is what we have been missing to develop agriculture.”

UNHCR and its partners are currently supporting 10 micro-farm cooperatives in the Kobe area, employing refugee workers. Last November, the IKEA Foundation through UNHCR donated 10 water pumps to local farmers to help them save time and energy spent watering their crops.

Support refugees who are rebuilding their lives by ordering your Blue Key.

blue-key-refugeesNo one chooses to be a refugee, forced from home, family and everything they have ever known. Yet 42.5 million people around the world—nearly the combined populations of New York and Texas—find themselves in this exact position.

More than 6,000 UNHCR staffers worldwide strive to provide them with protection, food, shelter, education, and a path to a new life. The Blue Key Campaign supports refugees who are working hard to rebuild their lives. When you wear your Blue Key, you show your support for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Since 1951, we’ve opened more than 50 million doors to a new life for refugees worldwide. Your Blue Key will open one more.

Part of a series from R. Nuri, UNHCR Innovation. 

 

Omar - Refugee Stories Blue Key

Omar, hard at work. © UNHCR Innovation/R. Nuri

45-year-old Somali refugee Omar found renewed hope in Kobe refugee camp, since he has been employed at the shelter workshop ran by UNHCR’s partner Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). “I can now afford more food and clothes for my wife and five children,” said Omar. 

Decreased security in Somalia’s Bay region and a terrible drought forced Omar and his family to flee to Kobe in July 2011. “After losing all the livestock, we decided to leave,” said Omar. 

Almost a year after settling in Kobe, he was recruited by NRC for the construction of components for the transitional shelter. “My job is to cut the bamboo into flat slats for the shelter’s walls,” said Omar.

In Kobe, around 15,000 refugees are currently using this bamboo and mud-plaster-made shelter, which is innovative for many reasons. The refugees chose the design; the components are produced in dedicated workshops and then transported and assembled on site by trained refugees in a few days; it is a source of livelihood for refugees employed in the workshop; the structure can be easily dismantled and taken along in case refugees repatriated.

Learn more about this shelter and livelihood program on USA for UNHCR’s website.

How To Help Syria

Believe it or not, Mother’s Day is coming up fast! This year, through a partnership with GlobalGiving, we are really excited to offer some unique Mother’s Day gifts that will bring a smile to a refugee while also putting a smile on Mom’s face.

Blue Key for RefugeesAs a thank-you for donating $25 or more to our ongoing work to aid the 1.4 million people who have fled Syria, you’ll receive a Blue Key Pin or Pendant - a symbol for the millions of refugees worldwide who no longer have a place to call home.

And, with your donation, you’ll help provide a refugee family with a kitchen set containing a cooking pot, cup, table spoon and deep plates. It may not sound like much, but after months of wondering if and when one can prepare food for his or her family, the simple comfort of a home-cooked meal can provide a sense of comfort and safety that is desperately needed among traumatized refugee families.

How does it work?

For donations to the GlobalGiving Syria project by USA for UNHCR, you will receive a free gift. Simply visit the links below and select “Add to Cart” under the gift photo. Please note, in order for your gift to arrive by Mother’s Day you must place your order by Wednesday, May 1st.

Saad is a refugee from Iraq living in Romania. He hired a smuggler to get him to Europe after he was targeted for his work as a journalist.

No one chooses to be a refugee. You can help: Get your Blue Key!
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Part of  a guest series by Rocco Nuri, UNHCR Innovation

Fatuma somali refugee blue key unhcr

Fatuma in her garden. © UNHCR Innovation /R. Nuri

Fatuma, 22, keeps a small but flourishing garden next to a community water point in Hilaweyn refugee camp, around 40 kilometers west of the Ethiopia-Somalia border. “I use waste-water from the tap fountain to grow tomatoes, onions, maize and papayas,” said the young Somali refugee.

Fatuma’s garden is one of 30 orchards that UNHCR’s partner Oxfam created next to tap stands across the camp. “I work as a water point keeper,” said Fatuma. “I monitor access to the fountain and provide each and every refugee with chlorine for water purification.” As reward for this responsibility, she can use the garden to grow vegetables and fruits for self-sufficiency. “I rarely go to the market to buy vegetables,” she said adding that the produce from the garden are enough to cover her family’s needs.

Fatuma used to have a farm in the south of Somalia’s Bay region. Conflict and drought forced her to flee to Ethiopia along with her husband and two baby girls in August 2011.

“I lost all my crops because there has been no rain in the last three years,” said Fatuma. “I used to rely exclusively on rain to water my farm.” The wastewater-based system by Oxfam is a novelty for the young Somali woman. “It’s good for the environment and helps me feed my family.” 

blue-key-refugee-awareness-symbol

 

No one chooses to be a refugee. You can help… and it’s very easy.
Show your support with a Blue Key.

Part of a guest series by Rocco Nuri, UNHCR Innovation

Gabru - Somalia Refugee Ethiopia Blue Key

Gabru. © UNHCR Innovation/R. Nuri

Gabru’s family is one of 16 households in Hilaweyn refugee camp helping UNHCR‘s partner Pastoralist Welfare Organization (PWO) pilot a bio-gas plant as an alternative source of energy for cooking and lighting.

This project is the very first attempt in the Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, area to reduce dependence on fuel wood.

The bio-gas plant recycles animal and human waste into methane gas, a form of organic energy used directly for domestic use. “The bio-gas stove produces no smoke and cooking is a lot faster,” said 38-year-old Gabru. 

In rural areas like Dollo Ado, women and girls bear the primary responsibility for gathering the firewood. “Sometimes I don’t feel safe to go out and collect firewood,” said Gabru, adding that walking long distances to collect firewood can expose women to sexual and gender-based violence.

The benefits of bio-gas therefore extend far beyond a cleaner environment and waste disposal and include a reduced likelihood for women to be exposed to security and protection risks.

“These days I burn again firewood to cook,” said Gabru. “There is not enough waste to produce gas.”

One of the challenges of bio-gas production is ensuring a constant flow of organic waste to churn out as much energy as possible.

Support refugees who are rebuilding their lives by ordering your Blue Key.

blue-key-refugeesNo one chooses to be a refugee, forced from home, family and everything they have ever known. Yet 42.5 million people around the world—nearly the combined populations of New York and Texas—find themselves in this exact position.

More than 6,000 UNHCR staffers worldwide strive to provide them with protection, food, shelter, education, and a path to a new life. The Blue Key Campaign supports refugees who are working hard to rebuild their lives. When you wear your Blue Key, you show your support for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Since 1951, we’ve opened more than 50 million doors to a new life for refugees worldwide. Your Blue Key will open one more.
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Zeinab’s husband was killed while she was pregnant in her town of Mogadishu. She lost her only source of support and could not afford the increasing market prices.

Zeinab faced a dilemma: Stay in Mogadishu where she could not afford to support her child, or flee to Yemen with a human smuggler?

What would you do?

No one chooses to be a refugee. You can help: Get your Blue Key!
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