As a UK based international Jewish charity, World Jewish Relief is committed to meeting the needs of individuals and communities living in poverty, assisting them to transform their lives and livelihoods. Working through local partners, our assistance focuses exclusively on the more vulnerable sections of society; women, children, the elderly and those with disabilities, identifying solutions that both relief short term suffering and additionally build on long term sustainable solutions.
Primarily we assist the most impoverished Jewish communities in the world, mainly across the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, but similar assistance is also provided to those who live in close proximity to our Jewish clients, or to those who have suffered comparable ethnic or religious persecution. Additionally, WJR leads the UK Jewish community’s response at times of international disaster. As a result of these criteria, today the charity works in 24 countries, across four continents.
Yes. WJR primarily extends its reach to vulnerable persons by working in partnership with local and international partners. Our partners are selected based a strict criteria to ensure accountability, transparency, cost effectiveness and the quality of the services they are able to sustain. In the UK we coordinate and liase with host of Jewish and non Jewish agencies with whom we have close and cooperative relations.
Within the UK there is a strong tradition of faith based international non government organisations many of whom have grown into immensely active and capable agencies responding to humanitarian and development needs worldwide. While there is no formal grouping of these organisations, there is considerable ongoing dialogue, sharing of perspectives and coordination amongst them of which WJR is an active part. We have strong links with Christian, Islamic, Catholic, Hindu and of course Jewish international development organisations and have shared a platform on issues of common concern as appropriate in the past.
In 2011/12, WJR supported 60 individual programmes in 24 countries across 4 continents, reaching a remarkable 84,220 people. We also delivered 21 lorry loads of new and used goods across Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, providing our clients with desperately needed coats, blankets and warm winter clothing.
Your donation will provide vital assistance to the most vulnerable and marginalised clients supported by WJR. It will be allocated in line with our project ratio, primarily, but not exclusively, to Jewish communities who are in urgent need of our support. Should you wish to do so, though, you can request that your donation support specific projects, which assist only Jewish communities or non-Jewish communities in general.
Money donated to WJR for its core welfare and community development programmes are not used to respond to international disasters and similarly resources raised for international disasters are ring fenced and not utilised to support our day to day projects.
Over the last five years, on average, for every £1 raised, World Jewish Relief has spent 86p directly on our projects, and 14p to manage our income and raise the next £1.
Every single penny helps and funds go a long way in the countries in which we work. A three course meal for an elderly person in the Former Soviet Union, for example, can cost as little as £2. Lunch for one child in Rwanda costs just 50p.
While the vast majority of our work continues to focus on supporting vulnerable Jewish communities throughout the Former Soviet Union, a small proportion of our core work assists other impoverished communities; either those living in close proximity to our Jewish clients or those in other counties, who, like ourselves, have suffered ethnic persecution or genocide. At times of major international disaster, WJR also leads the UK Jewish Community’s response to those in need.
Adhering closely to the values upon which it was founded in 1933 as the Central British Fund for German Jewry (CBF), WJR carries out this work to fulfil the imperative of helping others and healing the world; Tikkun Olam. That combination of looking both inwardly to our own, and outward to wider communities is critical to the organisation and a duty for us all as Jews. Our emergency appeals are traditionally endorsed accordingly by a spectrum of all the main Jewish communal bodies and organisations
Emergency appeals do not detract financially from the invaluable work WJR carries out on a daily basis, with both Jewish and non-Jewish communities around the world. In fact, statistically, they have been shown to enhance our core programming in the long term, raising the profile of the organisation and attracting more supporters who then donate to our ongoing projects.
It is also important to note that money donated to WJR for its core welfare and community development programmes are not used to respond to international disasters and similarly resources raised for international disasters are ring fenced and not utilised to support our day to day projects.
We do not deny the need in Israel, among Jewish, Arab and refugee communities, but we are aware of the large numbers of agencies working in the country. These include, among others, UJIA, JNF, MDA, Jewish Child’s Day and Emunah, Our remit is to work outside of Israel and the UK and not to overlap with the many effective UK Jewish charities already operating in that area of the world. There is huge demand for our assistance across our existing client communities and efforts are best placed trying to meet these ongoing needs.
The Former Soviet Union hosted, pre war, immense Jewish communities. To this day the Jewish community throughout the region numbers some 2 million persons. Ukraine for example hosts the fifth largest Jewish community in the world at somewhere between 350,000 and 500,000 persons. These are proud Jewish communities who wish to remain as part of the active Jewish diaspora. While many are eligible by the Law of Return to make Aliyah to Israel, they are proud Ukrainian citizens who are today happy to remain where they are, close to family and amongst their own.
At the fall of communism some 1.5 million persons left the Former Soviet Union and moved to Israel. Those that moved tended to community leaders, activists, entrepreneurs and those more willing to seek out a different life. Left behind were the elderly, the more vulnerable and those less willing to give up what they knew, to leave the burial place of their ancestors.
For the most elderly and vulnerable groups, leaving was not an option in the first place; it would simply have been too much of a challenge at that point in their lives. WJR’s welfare support is therefore focussed on providing dignity in their old age to these clients, but it also includes work helping to build futures for these communities, through initiatives to promote independence and self sustainability for the younger generations. This includes the provision of education, livelihood development schemes and community centres.
In Ukraine today, and in contrast to life in Soviet times, there is no state sponsored anti-Semitism. Indeed the government has sought to make a show and demonstrate its desire to ensure Jewish and other minority groups are respected, and feel secure to celebrate and show their identity, playing an active role in Ukrainian civil society. At a personal level anti-Semitism does still exist, though exemplifies an endemic level of racial intolerance and ignorance amongst small sections of society. Where attacks have been made the government’s response has been swift and firm.
In an attempt to ensure that our work never fuels anti-Semitic tendencies WJR’s Jewish projects are mirrored in local areas, supporting non-Jewish communities in a similar manner (food programmes, children’s homes and old age homes). In Belarus and the other countries receiving Gifts in Kind (goods donated by Jewish communities and UK businesses and sent to our clients overseas) these products are allocated to both Jewish and non-Jewish recipients where appropriate. Government ministries in Belarus are well aware of this work and it reflects favourably not only on WJR but on the Jewish communities facilitating the distributions.
WJR is not part of the DEC. The DEC comprises of a group of 14 British international NGO’s who meet a scale of operational emergency criteria that is currently beyond WJR (including an annual emergency humanitarian spend of £10million/annum). WJR has very close and positive relations with the DEC and its members, and shares strategic and operational information with them. The DEC celebrates WJR’s ability to mobilise the Jewish community to respond at times of disaster and recognises the generosity and support of our community to assist others.
When choosing partner agencies we take a two pronged approach. Firstly we aim to meet the immediate needs of those communities affected by allocating a grant as soon as possible after the emergency which focuses on alleviating the initial impact – through providing food, shelter, medical supplies and other resources. We tend to use our existing contacts for this; the larger, better established non-governmental organisations. Secondly, we work at building resilience and resistance to emergencies. For this we tend to work more with local partners on longer term programmes. Establishing and developing relationships with these local agencies can often be a slow process, so in the event of us not finding a local partner, we would refer back to our existing contacts until we were able to do so.
WJR has three criteria which need to be met before an emergency appeal is launched in response to an international disaster. There would need to be:
1. An overwhelming level of unmet humanitarian need.
2. An understanding that if funds were raised we could contribute towards assisting with that unmet need.
3. Sustained press and public interest (particularly amongst our support base) to generate a sufficient return on any fundraising investment.
Often, but not always, WJR will launch an appeal in line with the DEC (Disaster and Emergency Committee) as this increases the likelihood of these criteria being met.
It is important that there is a Jewish communal response to major international disasters, similar to those provided by a range of other faith based agencies. WJR not only provides this but ensures that all funds received are spent in a manner that upholds the Jewish tradition of charitable giving. WJR has excellent links with range of local and international agencies, allowing aid to be provided, through them, in a timely and suitable fashion. Along with the management of all our resources we have a robust monitoring and evaluation framework that seeks to ensure our resources are fully accounted for and maximise the impact they might have on communities affected.
No money donated to WJR is allocated to Government departments. We only work with local trusted independent partners on the ground and we rigorously check references before commencing partnerships with new agencies
WJR would never send money to anywhere if we felt that it would compromise our Jewish values.
In 2011/2012 we raised £8,123,515 - which included £3,339,676 for the value of goods in kind for distribution.
Over the last five years, on average, 86p from every £1 raised by WJR has been spent directly on our programmes, with the remaining 14p used to generate the next £1.
While the vast majority of our work continues to focus on supporting vulnerable Jewish communities throughout the former Soviet Union, a small proportion of our core work assists other impoverished communities; either those living in close proximity to our Jewish clients or those in other counties, who, like ourselves, have suffered ethnic persecution or genocide. At times of major international disaster, WJR also leads the UK Jewish Community’s response to those in need.
This follows an unprecedented donation of £12.3m from the Otto Schiff Housing Association, in 2010-11, to specifically help Jewish refugees of Nazi persecution, but this money is ring fenced. The programme that this donation is funding, will run for an initial period of three years, but is expected to continue after this date and cannot be used for other general purposes. In 2011/12, we raised £4.3 million in voluntary income, which is in line with sums raised prior to 2010/11 and this exceptional grant. As the economic challenges facing our clients continue to increase, so does the demand for our assistance and we plan to scale up our crucial work to meet this need in the coming years.
We have 28 FTE (full time equivalent) members of staff.
Our fundraising ratio for 2011/12 is 1:3.5, meaning for every £1 spent on fundraising, marketing communications we generate £3.50 income.