What the judges said
FORGE for humanity’s ‘Unlocking Potential’ project won one of the four annual £25,000 prizes for its unique focus on support for single male refugees travelling solo. In doing so the judges said FORGE is successfully challenging stereotypes while providing a support network to facilitate stability, integration and autonomy. The project attracted compelling references and a strong volunteer base, while the judges also noted that the prize money would make a real difference to a small start-up charity working with very few volunteers.
FORGE for humanity’s ‘Unlocking Potential’ project is unique in its focus on male refugees who are travelling solo.
‘Unlocking Potential’ puts into action FORGE for humanity’s advocacy against deprioritising these men, highlighting them as an essential population to be involved in and enrich their host nation’s society. FORGE believes that these men should be front and centre of how we think about social development and aid delivery, and in their potential if given the initial support required by any individual.
FORGE is committed to challenging stereotypes and to supporting this neglected population, both individually and as a community, to help them build a solid base of knowledge and support network to ease their way towards stability, integration and autonomy.
FORGE operates primarily as an information hub from a small space in central Athens, Greece, sharing much needed knowledge and guidance about the asylum process, and offering information on accessing Greek government and non-profit services in order for the men it assists to meet their basic needs and gain control over their circumstances. Through FORGE’s employability program, the project highlights an important path towards autonomy, by identifying individual roadmaps to employment, and more immediately, obtaining unemployment benefits and other vital support.
FORGE for humanity, though a very small charity, has established a crucial space for its participants, built on respect and community, where men can support and collaborate with FORGE and each other to find solutions to their displacement.
FORGE for humanity’s strategy is based on a long term approach, structured to benefit the individual needs of each participant. FORGE strongly believes in the capability of the men in their Athens-based jurisdiction to reach their potential and be active in their own lives, encouraging collaboration and working alongside them to overcome the obstacles of deprioritization and rekindle pre-existing motivations. Focusing on unravelling the asylum process, mapping resources and services, and employment counselling, together with a community space and advocacy efforts, FORGE successfully promotes integration, autonomy and stability, all essential tools needed to achieve independence from social aid.
Ockenden International’s four cash prizes recognize and reward innovative work that delivers evidential self-reliance to refugees and/or IDPs, the hallmark of Ockenden International since its inception in 1951.
The four annual prizes are open to projects or programmes focused on Internally Displaced People (IDP)/refugee self-reliance anywhere in the world.The 2020 finalists were (with the other three winners italicised):
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