With your help in the past, we have already made great progress in enhancing collaborative capacities of existing refugee groups, and in empowering Rohingya refugee women to harness their creativity and culture to create informal revenue streams. But with so much work left to do, it is imperative that we do not take our foot off the pedal now, and that means more funding! We need to raise a minimum of $24,000 to fund our Malaysian projects for the remainder of the year.
If you believe that self-determination and the sustainability of community-based projects are essential to refugee empowerment, then dig deep and join us in giving the industrious Rohingya women of Ipoh and the tireless refugee groups of Kuala Lumpur the little nudge they need to continue developing their own communities, and in doing so, to empower themselves.
To be in international limbo with no place to call your own is a situation unimaginable for most of us, but for some this is a daily reality. What is even worse is having the many talents of refugees idle as they are denied the right to work in transit scenarios in countries such as Malaysia, where both asylum seekers and refugees have very limited protection.
Although asylum seekers and refugees residing in Kuala Lumpur have relatively greater access to support compared to those living elsewhere in Malaysia, there is still much room for improvement in the nation’s capital. As identified by the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), significant improvements can be made in the collaborative capacities of existing refugee groups who offer services to their own community members in the area. Same Skies’ Refugee Collaboration Network has worked to address this precise need since September 2017. We are determined to continue enhancing inter-organisational co-operation by further strengthening the management, pedagogy, networking and awareness-raising capacities of these refugee groups through the rest of 2018. We, like UNHCR, believe that efficient collaboration between Kuala Lumpur’s refugee-led organisations will be pivotal in the challenge of supporting the ever-growing numbers of displaced people in the city.
The situation is even more difficult for refugees residing outside of Kuala Lumpur, as most efforts to assist refugees and asylum seekers are focused on the country’s capital. This is why Same Skies, with the help of UNHCR, has already made great progress in enhancing leadership and community among Rohingya women based in Ipoh since the commencement of the Rohingya Women Empowerment Project in October 2017. Through Same Skies’ proven collaborative process (yes, we have done this before! – See here), it was decided that their marvellous embroidery skills could be nurtured and put to good use by producing tote bags complete with a Rohingya face and personal story to be sold through local businesses. The purpose of this project, as recommended by UNHCR, is to build greater community among a particularly disadvantaged refugee population, while also developing means for informal revenue streams, which can ultimately be entirely owned and managed by the women themselves. With the improvements in social interaction and self-worth evident, it is no surprise that UNHCR has expressed their willingness for the project to continue beyond the current end-date of March 2018, in order for the women to see their ambition become a sustainable reality of their own. However, despite their endorsement of our work, the continued uncertainty of UNHCR-funding and the time-consuming reporting that is part-and-parcel of attaining it has inspired us to continue to seek support at the grassroots-level.
This is where you come in…Our minimum goal of $24,000 will allow us to fund all of the expert training, logistics and resources required for the continued operation of both of these projects until the end of 2018.
But, of course we have a very clear plan for what can be done if your collective generosity surpasses this target too! Any surplus donations will be directed towards Transformative Leadership in Action, our very own structured 7-month leadership programme which, through modern technology, presents an opportunity for leaders from all around the globe to collaborate in establishing a new refugee-led community centre in Kuala Lumpur. We believe that this action-based course will not only improve the lives of refugee communities in Kuala Lumpur, but also provide a rich and unforgettable experience of professional and personal development for everyone involved.