In 2015-16, Direct Aid Program funding of $892,000 was provided to 62 projects in Europe through our diplomatic missions in Ankara, Belgrade, Canakkale, Kyiv, Moscow, Rome and Vienna. The projects covered 16 countries.
The Australian Embassy in Ankara funded 12 projects in Turkey totalling $207,000. The Direct Aid Program (DAP) is helping address humanitarian hardship for Syrian refugees, particularly women and children, as well as disadvantaged Turkish groups.
According to UNICEF, more than half of Turkey's 2.7 million registered Syrıan refugees are children – and nearly 80 percent of them are not in school. Across the wider region, UNICEF estimates that half of school age Syrians – 2.8 million children – have no means of accessing education. Through DAP funds, the Australian Embassy Turkey has been able to assist Syrian related projects on a local level.
One DAP project provided Turkish language training for Syrian children and young people to help them adapt to life in Turkey. The funds were spent on school furniture and educational equipment for three schools established for Syrian refugees, namely Kademmon, Syriac and Al Maarife schools. The equipment is being used at the schools where Syrian children are taught Turkish and other courses according to the Turkish curriculum.
The Australian Consulate in Canakkale provided $50,000 for five small-scale projects in the provinces of Canakkale and Tekirdag, in European and Western Anatolian Turkey and close to the Anzac battlefields. The Direct Aid Program (DAP) focused on promoting the role and status of women, and improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable.
DAP supported a project to purchase equipment and furniture at the Golden Ages Elderly Assistance Centre. The centre provides accommodation, medical services and training in basic daily life needs to disadvantaged elderly people in Canakkale province.
The Australian Embassy in Belgrade provided $165,000 for 24 projects in Serbia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM). The Direct Aid Program (DAP) focused on supporting empowerment of women and girls, vulnerable groups and media freedom projects.
In Belgrade a project focusing on physiological empowering and training of female victims of violence encouraged them to move forward and learn techniques to restore their roles as parents. Workshops on parenting were conducted by psychologists twice a week over a period of three months with more than 100 women attending the training.
In Bitola (fYROM) the Samurai Karate Club joined with Lootus agency to train vulnerable groups (including people with disability, single mothers and victims of violence) in the English language, computer skills and office skills. Over a three month period 30 classes were organised for each topic and overall 60 people from vulnerable groups attended the training. The project was received with great enthusiasm in the community.
The Australian Embassy in Kyiv provided $187,000 for four projects in Ukraine. The Direct Aid Program (DAP) funded humanitarian projects addressing the urgent needs of the most vulnerable.
Funding was provided to the Advanced Radiological Centre project at the national paediatric specialised hospital 'OKHMATDYT' in Kyiv. Using DAP funds, the project purchased technology to improve X-Ray quality, especially for procedures involving infants and those cases assessed as most difficult. A room was equipped with ultrasound technology, removing the need to transport patients to another building to access this technology. A system for saving and filing radiological pictures electronically was also purchased, which will provide an opportunity to develop a digital archive. The new equipment will improve diagnostic outcomes for those patients suffering challenging diseases and will enhance the quality of care to children.
A DAP project implemented through the Caritas Sambir-Drohobych Diocese of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church provided practical training courses for internally displaced women. The project seeks to economically empower women and improve livelihood security through an emphasis on practical training courses.
The Australian Embassy in Moscow provided $139,000 for four projects in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The projects selected for Direct Aid Program (DAP) funding targeted support for people with disability, women in rural communities, and key infrastructure improvements.
The remote Ak Syy sanatorium in Kyrgyzstan received DAP funding to provide internet connectivity and tele-medicine facilities for children with disability, principally for those suffering cerebral palsy. In the long term, the tele-medicine service at Ak Syy will act as a hub to provide disability training to other internet-connected disability centres in Kyrgyzstan, with the purpose of upskilling local practitioners.
In Tajikisan DAP funding is supporting the Pasor Hydroelectric Power Station Reconstruction project. The hydro unit will provide critical electricity needs to several villages affected by an earthquake which struck Gorno Badakhshan region in late 2015. DAP funding also went towards a carpet weaving project in Vahdat in Tajikistan, designed to increase income generating activities and entrepreneurial skills of disadvantaged women from the local Tajik-Afghan community through the provision of looms and training.
The Australian Embassy in Rome provided $95,000 for six projects in Albania which focused on assisting disadvantaged groups, including addressing women's empowerment, unemployed youth and child welfare.
The Direct Aid Program (DAP) provided funding to assist women of 15 different farming families in the Zall Bastar region of Albania to develop their beekeeping capabilities. The project equipped unemployed women in the community with ongoing practical beekeeping skills and resources, giving each family the opportunity to improve their livelihoods. The families have produced quality organic honey for sale at local markets in the region, providing added benefits for the local economy.
DAP also provided funding to the Organization for the Support of Albania's Abandoned Babies (OSAAB) to conduct a study that statistically tracked over 700 abandoned babies that were cared for by OSAAB in the last 20 years. Findings of the study are being used to advocate for systemic changes in the Albanian social work system to make positive long-term impacts in the lives of future babies abandoned in Albania.
The Australian Embassy in Vienna provided $50,000 for seven Direct Aid Program (DAP) projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Kosovo, focusing on the most vulnerable groups, namely youth, women and people with disability. These projects delivered health and education benefits for the target groups, as well as broader community-building outcomes.
One project supported the work of EDUS, an NGO that provides special education to children with varying levels of developmental delays. With the support of DAP funds from the Australian Embassy in Vienna in addition to international partners UNICEF and the United Nations Women's Guild (UNWG) Vienna in the past four years, EDUS has expanded their early intervention programs for younger children with developmental delay or disability, focusing on assessment and capacity-building tutorials. The project also included workshops for teachers and parents, and awareness raising campaigns on World Autism Day.
A second project in Mostar, BiH, helped to fund a range of classes designed to teach life skills to young people with intellectual disability, including cooking, social skills and self-advocacy. The project concluded with a Food Festival for the local community.