No Longer Your Grandparents' HIAS

Posted on Fri, Dec 05, 2008 at 15:29 pm

(New York, NY)— Mia Farrow, renowned actress and activist, presented HIAS board members and friends with a high-level briefing on the humanitarian crisis in Chad yesterday at an event that highlighted HIAS’ non-traditional refugee work. As the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, HIAS not only works with Jewish refugees wherever they are in trouble, but is the only Jewish organization with staff on the ground in Chad providing Darfuri refugees with much needed psycho-social services.

Farrow, who is very involved with the crisis affecting nearly 3 million people in the Darfur/Chad borderlands, has worked closely with HIAS on her frequent trips to the region. During her presentation, she stated: “HIAS has stepped forward to do this work and I’ll stand with HIAS as long as I can stand, as long as I can breathe.”

Since 2005, HIAS has had staff in Africa with major operations in Chad, where, as an implementing partner of the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, it provides services in five of that country’s refugee camps for those fleeing the Darfur region of Sudan. HIAS’ Psychosocial Initiative for Darfuri Refugees, now in its fourth year, has provided more than 90,000 refugees with psychosocial and community service programs, such as peace and conflict resolution training, sexual- and gender-based violence education and sensitization, therapeutic play activities for children and trauma counseling.

HIAS also has operations elsewhere in Africa and in Latin America, Israel and Europe, helping Jewish and non-Jewish refugees and migrants. In addition, HIAS is involved in resettlement activities in the United States with its extensive network of partners, led by the Jewish federation system and its affiliates. And from its Washington, DC offices, HIAS runs a robust advocacy program on behalf of just and humane immigration legislation.