In 2004, the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC) was founded by a political refugee from Ethiopia who had resolved to help the thousands of other African asylum seekers fleeing to Israel. ARDC thus began its work as a humanitarian aid organization and originally provided new arrivals with shelter, food and medical attention. In 2009, ARDC began offering language classes, psychosocial support and paralegal assistance, as the community needs shifted to looking for longer-term solutions.
ARDC has evolved over time to fit the ever-changing needs of the community, from its start as a shelter when asylum-seekers began arriving, to legal aid and rights empowerment, to language courses, and now to Higher Education and Economic Inclusion programs.
Since 2014, ARDC has focused its work on empowering the community and not only providing services. ARDC began offering community leadership courses, increased its advocacy efforts, expanded its paralegal outreach to many cities outside Tel Aviv, and shifted its education program from language classes to higher education and economic inclusion.
In the last years, our focus shifted from legal aid to social and economic inclusion. We hope to achieve this goal through our various higher education programs, which include language courses, vocational training, tutoring services, scholarship assistance and more.
To protect, assist and empower African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel by advocating on their behalf and enabling processes that increase their awareness, ensure participation and inspire policy change.
Community-based: Asylum seeker community members hold key roles in decision-making
Grassroots: New initiatives and actions originate bottom-up and are based on community needs
Synergy: ARDC creates synergy between projects and partners through shared resources and knowledge
To enable and ensure that all refugees and asylum seekers are free from persecution, live in dignity and have an opportunity to realize their aspirations
The African Refugee Development Center is a grassroots, community-based non-profit organization that was founded in 2004 by African asylum-seekers and Israelis in order to protect, assist, and empower asylum-seekers in Israel. As a representative of the community, ARDC shifts programmatic focus to fit the ever changing context and interests of the asylum seeker population.
The cornerstone of ARDC, our individualized casework, allows ARDC to engage its clients on an ongoing basis and to adjust programming based on emerging needs and, in order, to maximize impact. ARDC has built up educational and vocational programs for our clients, with special attention paid to the unique needs of women and youth. To date, ARDC has served over 15,000 African asylum-seekers.
Through our intensive advocacy efforts, ARDC has established partnerships with leading academic institutions, vocational schools, third sector organizations, and private sector businesses, ensuring greater sustainability, wider societal engagement, and increased opportunities for asylum-seekers. Our pioneering efforts in educational partnerships have revolutionized professional opportunities for asylum-seekers in Israel.
Our Education program includes engagement for all levels of educational attainment, with specialized courses in language acquisition, GED and TOEFL, and tutoring across any number of requested topics. The program also assists clients with personalized casework as they navigate their educational aspirations with university application assistance, assistance in registration in a variety of degree programs, as well as scholarship assistance.
In addition to the education program, which is the core of the organisations, the ARDC also focuses on advocacy on behalf of the community. Furthermore, we take an active role in the community life, organising and participating in community events, and provide para-legal assistance
ARDC Historical Timeline
Psycho - social care
2009 - 2013
Legal Aid & Empowerment
Applying for refugee status (RSD)
Refugee education program focusing on language