About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Date started: November 2015
Website: www.refuaid.org
Twitter: @refuaid
Location: London but with national reach

Anna Jones and Tamsyn Brewster, responding to the refugee crisis, connected via social media and decided they had to help. With volunteer experience helping refugees in Greece, they decided to form a company with the mission of practical help at its core.

RefuAid team

The RefuAid team

RefuAid focuses on three key barriers to access for refugees with leave to remain, trying to restart their life in the UK: finance and re-qualification, language tuition and specialist employment advice. Their solutions have proved both sustainable and successful.

Their language project has supported 104 students via language tuition and certification, while bespoke career guidance makes use of a national network of corporate partners providing work placements, mentoring and job opportunities.

A ‘character-based’ loan scheme offers interest-free loans of £10,000, for internationally-trained refugees to pay for UK accreditation and requalification, to return to employment in their prior professional field. With a 100 per cent repayment rate after six months, and applicants gaining employment commensurate with their skills, this is a radical approach with clear, positive impact. A family reunification loan is now in the planning stage.

Under the banner of ‘Hope; Resilience; Unity’, RefuAid requires and generates plenty of all three.