The recent cold weather has struck asylum seekers living in Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park. A homeless Ethiopian migrant was found dead in the park last week. This has motivated fellow refugees from Darfur to set up a temporary shelter for their Sudanese compatriots.
The Sons of Darfur organization, founded by Darfurian migrants, opened the shelter earlier this week in the central bus station area. After two days of operation, it is already housing 120 people. On its second day, 60 people who had just been released from Saharonim Prison were taken in, but the shelter can barely hold 150. It is hoped that giving the migrants a place to stay will help them find work and a more permanent place to live. Aid organizations are warning that unless the state intervenes, the park will be the scene of a humanitarian disaster.
“There are days when the rain doesn’t stop and people have nothing over their heads to protect them,” says Ismail, a Sons of Darfur member who manages the shelter. “We’ve seen people in the park in very tough, depressing circumstances and fainting from hunger, and we wanted to do something that would help.”
This project has only begun, so materials such as ovens, freezer, and dry food are in lack.
This shelter was rented with contributions from working members of the Darfurian migrant community by a rent of NIS 12,000 per month. Although, Ismail said that “We’ve paid for this month but I couldn’t tell you where we’ll get the money for next month. We’ll have to find a solution. No one in this country seems too bothered by people living in this street, so we’ll have to take care of them.”
On the second day of the shelter, volunteer doctors from Physicians for Human Rights came to the shelter and according to the doctors, some of the injuries were occured due to the trek from Sudan to Israel, and apparently were not treated properly in Saharonim Prison.
We also see many homeless people in Japan, especially in Tokyo. For example, in Ueno Park, there are communities of homeless prople and they have a morning congress. It’s almost as if a small society. From the news, we hear many homeless people being attacked by junior and senior high school students as if it was for fun. Compared to that, I thought this project was very decent. I wonder if something like this will ever happen in Japan.