There are currently -80 million people on the move – 26.3 million of them outside their home country. HEKS/EPER wishes to send a message of hope for these people by coming to their aid.. HEKS/EPER therefore provides emergency relief for refugees in crisis areas and in their neighbouring countries, and also supports asylum seekers here in Switzerland through legal aid and programmes to integrate and include them.
Help in crisis areas
HEKS provides on-the-spot emergency aid for civilians impacted by war, violence and destruction In Syria, for example, HEKS/EPER distributes food, toiletries, wool blankets and other items for daily use to especially needy, internally displaced families. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, HEKS/EPER provides emergency aid in Nord-Kivu province, where internal conflicts are rife. This consists mainly of road repairs, securing water supplies and building accommodations. To defuse the social tensions generated by internal refugee flows, HEKS/EPER also runs projects geared both to internally displaced persons and to host communities. Hence, in Iraq and South Sudan, for example, local peasant families and internally displaced people are assisted in collective grain and vegetable farming..
Help in neighbouring countries
Some 86 per cent of the world's refugees seek protection in developing countries, mostly in neighbouring countries in crisis regions. These countries are entirely overburdened, however. HEKS/EPER therefore runs humanitarian aid projects in Lebanon, which has taken in some 1.5 million refugees, in refugee camps in Uganda, to which more than 1.4 million people have fled from South Sudan, or in Bangladesh, where almost a million members of the Rohingya Muslim minority have sought refuge. Depending on the context, these emergency relief projects may entail providing people with food vouchers, toiletries or clean drinking water, repairing their dwellings or enabling them to earn a small income through cash-for-work programmes.
Help in Switzerland
In Switzerland HEKS/EPER accompanies refugees throughout the asylum procedure, while the HEKS/EPER legal advice centres orient them on matters of asylum and immigration law. HEKS/EPER also mounts programmes that are conducive to smooth, rapid and lasting inclusion for refugees and migrants. At the political and social levels, HEKS/EPER uses lobbying and public campaigns to ensure that refugees in Switzerland get the protection to which they are entitled, and that they receive lasting support in the integration process.