Community hosting program in Egypt  

Initiated by StARS, found a low turnout from the Eritrean refugee communities in Cairo.

The absence of camps and housing complexes for refugees in Egypt is one of the greatest problems faced by the needy refugees, particularly the minors.

With the increase in the number of refugees and the most vulnerable (minors), it has become difficult for organizations to support all affected refugees by housing and daily needs constraints.

StARS

StARS,(Saint Andrew Refugee Service) is one of the organizations in Cairo which is  interested in supporting unaccompanied children and youth (UCY) and has initiated the idea of community hosting program. In its awareness lectures by two of its members from the community outreach unit (Endalkachew and Ramadan), it engaged the Eritrean refugee community on Saturday 08 September 2018 in its main building at down town in Cairo.  It explained the idea to the community members in a way that raised their awareness of the community hosting program. A lot of volunteers registered part of the program at that time but during the filling of the hosting form most of the hosts stayed hesitant due to the difficulties associated with reporting, follow up, monitoring and accountability and transparency.

The Criteria of the hosting program each hosts has to fulfill is;

  1. Financial independence (they need someone who generates income or get a support from abroad constantly. The reason is to make sure that hosts have their own income to pay their house rent and food price if they are to qualify part of the UCY program.
  2. Free bed room or shared room
  3. Previous experience of hosting or someone who has interest of hosting.

Here the duty of the organization is to pay some amount of the house rent and a monthly food for the child/minor to share it with the hosts. And also the organization makes regular follow up by two experts: one from psycho-social units and the other one from UCY mentors, as this program is only for the most vulnerable children.

Though the Eritrean community is constrained by financial problems, it has the culture of hosting their children and brothers. Most of the new comers do not face difficulties in being hosted except those vulnerable ones (those who suffer from traumatic stress and those who face security threats from traffickers). These groups need special support and follow ups. But even if this program targets those who have a good income, the Eritrean community is hesitant to obey such formal approach of hosting minors fearing from the questions addressed to them and its  monitoring and follow up requirement which creates security concerns and intrusion into their private life  by requiring to disclose their financial capacities and sources of income. In order to assess one’s qualification, he/she is required to fill a form in which he/she is asked about his/her income, source of income, family size, relationship with the child/minor, your expectation from the program and others. The program includes house visits by experts from the organizations. As the result of these requirements those who are able and willing to host are hesitant. Hence the actual number of people who became part of the program is much lesser than those who initially volunteered to be part of the program. It is to be noted that the number of the vulnerable UCY increasing rapidly.

Although there is no good acceptance of the program from the Eritrean community, the organization is still contacting the communities by their representative in order to motivate them and enhance their awareness towards improving the acceptance level of the program.

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