There are currently over 45,000 African refugees living in Israel with hundreds crossing through every week. Although the make-up of Africans in Israel is as diverse as the continent itself, the majority of refugees come from Sudan and Eritrea. Many Sudanese fled civil war while the Eritreans escaped from a hostile political climate and a government that forces all men into indefinite military service. Others left in hopes of a brighter future.
Israel, a country roughly the size of New Jersey, is severely unprepared handle the influx of migrants and has allowed the region of south Tel Aviv to swell into the epicenter of the refugee conflict.
This project documents the lives of pregnant women, new mothers and single-parent families residing at shelter coordinated by the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC). The women, mostly from Eritrea, are refugees and asylum seekers. Some speak broken Hebrew or English; many speak only Tigrinya or Arabic. 10% of the refugee population in Israel are women and many were raped on their journey or impregnated against their will.
The shelter provides a safe place for vulnerable women to have their babies and raise their children. A staff of volunteers provides them with food, support and takes them on necessary medical visits. Without the ARDC, many of these women and children would be homeless.
The refugee population has faced challenges and prejudice from the government and some citizens. The goal of this project is to raise awareness for the issue and humanize the population that is often labeled as “infiltrators.” After all, 60 years ago, Jews from around the world faced a similar situation.
Produced by Jono Foley and Tamir Kalifa