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Refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places of conflict continue to arrive in Serbia every day. Many arrive exhausted from treacherous journeys through multiple countries in search of sanctuary.

Refugees and those caught up in conflict

Our appeal, launched in September 2015, has raised more than £2m, enabling us to support in excess of 100,000 people who are in need of security and a safe place to call home.

Support for refugees

Churches have challenged the language of panic and prejudice used to describe people seeking sanctuary, and having responded generously to our appeal, enabled us to work with our sister agencies in ACT Alliance to serve the needs of refugees in Europe.

Since September 2015 our partners have worked to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to refugees, including beds, mattresses, showers, baby kits and clothing. As the situation has continued, our partners are now providing mid- to long-term support to refugees, including shelter for unaccompanied minors, legal support and advice, and accommodation for some of the most vulnerable refugees currently stranded in Greece.

And in Serbia, in a joint partnership with Philanthropy, the charitable foundation of the Serbian Orthodox Church, we implemented a DFID/Start Fund-administered cash-assistance project. Cash cards were distributed to vulnerable refugees passing through Serbia, for use at shops close to the borders and on the route across the country. Refugees with young children, elderly refugees and refugees with disabilities were targeted, based on their increased vulnerability. Up to the end of March 2016, the project supported some 63,000 refugees.

We continued to work with partners in the Middle East to reach affected communities in Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq, enabling access to cash-for-work and vocational training schemes, agricultural inputs plus psychological and social support.

Specialist services such as physiotherapy for refugees with disabilities and legal support for women facing gender-based violence have also been provided. But we must not only respond to the practical needs of refugees in transit but speak out on their behalf. Churches across the UK have responded to our call to ‘Change the Story’, by sharing stories that uphold those escaping injustice and war, and that celebrate those who offer a welcome. Read more on our ‘Change the Story’ campaign.

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