In our latest Annual Report, we reflect on all that’s happened—successes, achievements and challenges for the future.
Our emergency visit to Moldova became our largest ever operation, we responded immediately to the Türkiye earthquake, and we maintained our critical service in Cyprus. This increase in operations needed more robust management systems, so we were delighted to welcome new trustees and expand our team of regular volunteers.
We’re proud that our admin and running costs remain relatively low compared with what’s spent on directly delivering essential services and material support. That’s one of the many advantages of being a small, dynamic and highly efficient organisation.
Big Strides in Impact Measurement
We made big strides in our impact measurement, thanks to a comprehensive qualitative report produced by a professional anthropologist, Jonathan Newman, whose findings validated many of our learnings and assumptions.
Jonathan concluded that we help refugees foster resilience in their daily lives. His finding is backed by abundant research which demonstrates that people who become refugees are better able to adjust to their new environment and develop resilience when given opportunities to practice familiar daily routines among community, where they can be proactive players in their transformed lives, making choices that fit their own needs and meeting people with similar and relatable life experiences.
Building resilience has different pillars, including economic and social support, which helps people maintain a sense of identity and belonging. Addressing the loss of resources and control, which define much of a refugee’s experience, is a key intervention to support resilience and adaptation. A 2020 study defined resilience as the, “…aesthetics of life-making in the everyday, requiring the employment of those micro-strategies which help one to live with the present despite an uncertain future.”
Volunteering as a Selfishly Altruistic Act
We advocate for the benefits of volunteering and are always careful to give people the opportunity to show solidarity without undermining refugees’ independence. Volunteering is a deeply fulfilling experience, and to optimise its impact for all involved, we have clear codes of conduct. We carry out training and education to change the perspectives of those who might see themselves as ‘saviours’ or in a position to impose what they think is best.
We spread that message through our podcast series, The Selfish Altruist, which features insightful reflections from volunteers about their experiences. We published nine episodes, which are available through all the main channels.
Looking To The Future
As the year ends, it feels like we have all the pieces in place to create a world where refugees can lead a life with dignity. The challenge for the coming year is how—as their needs increase, Europe becomes increasingly hostile, and donors feel the cost-of-living squeeze—we can continue to fund it all.Refugee Support Europe Annual Report 2022-23 web