Imagine yourself working in a refugee camp, coming across a child with acute appendicitis and knowing that without urgent medical attention that child could die. The nearest hospital is a long distance away and to transport that child there costs money. To pay for the surgery also costs money. As a humanitarian worker you are able to identify the need but you don’t always have the funds in your budget to do what you know needs to be done.
Team Refuge is a UK registered charity designed to assist in exactly this sort of situation – to fill the budgetary gap. Children should not die simply because the specific costs of evacuation haven’t been budgeted for in medium term program planning. This is not a health care fund, nor is it a medical NGO. There are others who successfully fulfil that role. Team Refuge helps to fill a specific funding gap, enabling experts in the field to save precious lives.
Team Refuge will cover the expense of the urgent life saving medical evacuation of refugee children and other vulnerable groups. Team Refuge will partner with reputable non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to channel funds to the most critical cases. This is a new charity and it does not intend to duplicate the good work already being done by NGOs but rather to meet the cost of evacuations when organisations on the ground are unable to do so.
One of Team Refuge’s founders, Jake Morland, has worked for the United Nations since 1999 in some of the world’s most complex emergencies from East Timor to Darfur, post-Tsunami Sri Lanka and currently Iraq. While working in these locations Jake has come across cases of children who have died in refugee camps simply because the funds did not exist to evacuate them for emergency treatment. This prompted Jake and fellow founder James Turner to race to the North Pole in 2007 in an effort to raise awareness and funds thereby establishing Team Refuge.
Practically every penny Team Refuge raises goes towards medical evacuation. There are limited overhead costs, no salaries, nothing hidden.