Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Advocacy and Support Center

opening hours

Sundays and Wednesdays: 16.00-19.30

at 52 Golomb Street, Tel Aviv 

(map)

Telephone: 072-2513838

 

Assaf's Advocacy and Support Center serves asylum-seekers who come to talk about the problems they encounter- exploitive working conditions, how to register children at school, medical issues, housing etc. The Center is a haven for them where they are welcomed warmly, develop a sense of belonging and receive support and information.

The Center is open two afternoons a week, and is run by a coordinator and a team of 10 trained volunteers. It is a unique center, a place where each month  some 250 refugees and asylum-seekers receive assistance on a range of issues. Many of them turn to the Center not only for help in solving a particular problem but in order to bask in a friendly atmosphere, with familiar faces, open ears, hot coffee and Internet access.

The Center offers support and advocacy on an individual basis. The volunteers spend time with the applicants and try to provide a wide range of care and assistance. Sometimes  volunteers help directly (mediation with landlords and employers, job searches, medical appointments etc) and sometimes they refer the applicants  to other organizations or institutional services.

The teams are also a source of emotional support for people in their day to day struggles as they try simultaneously to overcome traumas of the past, deal with the present and adjust to lack of hope as tofor the future.

When the team identifies a wider problem, we try to supply a solution in principle, sometimes in cooperation with other organizations by approaching the relevant institutions, such as the police or the Ministry of the Interior.

The Center works concurrently with the asylum-seekers and their employers. Asylum-seekers in Israel do not receive official work permits, but the Interior Ministry has assured the High Court that the work ban will not be enforced. However, there is confusion on this issue and many employers hesitate to employ asylum-seekers.  Assaf approaches employers on its own initiative and gives them information on the legality of employment.

We also help asylum-seekers to look for work and provide information on safety regulations and on their rights as workers.


 

Employment

The Center works concurrently with the asylum-seekers and their employers. Asylum-seekers in Israel do not receive official work permits, but the Interior Ministry has assured the High Court that the employment ban will not be enforced. However, there is confusion on this issue and many employers hesitate to employ asylum-seekers Assaf approaches employers on its own initiative and gives them information on the legality of employment.

We also help asylum-seekers to look for work and provide information on safety regulations and on their rights as workers.

For additional information on employment of asylum-seekers and refugees see למידע נוסף על העסקת מבקשי מקלט ופליטים 

Information and referral center

There are several organizations in Tel Aviv which help asylum-seekers in various ways so that part of our work is to refer applicants to these organizations and to provide accessible relevant information

The notice boards in the Advocacy and Support Center display considerable written information and further information is given orally. What is more, when a volunteer encounters an applicant with a problem which cannot be solved by existing aid organizations for asylum-seekers, they approach associations and organizations in the civil society for aid. Thanks to Assaf's record of successful cooperation with other organizations, our applicants then enjoy fuller assistance.

Pleasant atmosphere and open ears

The Advocacy and Support Center is a pleasant and inviting meeting place where the asylum-seekers find familiar faces, people who listen to them,  and other asylum-seekers and can enjoy  a cup of coffee, and free access to Internet and various written material. Many come to the Center not only in search of solutions but in order to spend time in a place where they can chat, exchange experiences and talk to volunteers.

 

Accompaniment in the field

A separate team of volunteers accompanies individual asylum-seekers to hospitals, public institutions etc. This is done in cases when the applicant finds it difficult to communicate with an Israeli authority or when active intervention is required to deal with the applicant's problem and to follow-up on the response he or she receives. The aim is to ensure a satisfactory response. 

Women`s space

On Wednesdays at 15.00 the Center devotes time and space to women. The aim is to create a haven for women asylum-seekers in need of help or support. There, with the help of women volunteers and interpreters, they can raise issues which they hesitate to discuss in the general, mainly male environment. The Center also offers advice sessions and aid and leisure activities.

Lectures on human rights

These lectures are held throughout the country for groups of refugees and asylum-seekers. The speakers are tutor members of the refugee community, trained and guided by the Center team. The lectures provide information on various rights - status, work, health and education, various services and how to access them. In this way, Assaf succeeds in making contact with new  and additional population groups and conveying information and advice. The lecture model is  participative - each lecture is adapted to a specific group on issues which are particularly relevant for that group.

In addition, the Center distributes information leaflets on human rights -status, health and work in various languages (Arabic, Tigrinia and English) in order to provide accessible information to as many asylum-seekers and refugees as possible.