the refuge initiative

Tim and Sarah Buxton landed with their young family in Iraqi Kurdistan the day before Islamic State overran nearby Mosul. For more than three years they dedicated their lives to building communities for people fleeing extremist violence. 

In 2014, The Buxtons co-founded The Refuge Initiative, which continues to this day to respond to the deepening refugee, IDP and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Iraq & Syria. 

Watch this video to learn about how The Refuge Initiative is building communities of hope for refugees in Northern Iraq.

Building communities of hope and providing pathways back to independent living for those running from persecution.

Building a camp is one thing, providing a place of refuge is quite another. The Refuge Initiative develops micro-camps in partnership with the refugees, placing their specific needs first and empowering them with autonomy. The result is the formation of genuine communities of Hope. By keeping their camps small in the range of 100 - 250 people, they maintain the normal village social structure that most refugees come from, greatly minimizing the difficulties of transition and giving them the strong sense of community that is completely lost in larger camps.

Photo by Jessie Parks |

Photo by Jessie Parks |

With 5 villages up and running, The Refuge Initiative is providing shelter, community and a base for rebuilding lives.

Photo by Jessie Parks |

Photo by Jessie Parks |

Providing schooling for refugee children is The Refuge Initiative's first task in bringing the refugees back into the pathway of progress and stability.

Partnering with local teachers has proven quite effective in enabling the refugee children to continue their studies. A school was built in 2016 alongside the existing Community Centre, providing the perfect place for young people to keep up their studies and develop other skills for future employment. 

Photo by Jessie Parks |

Photo by Jessie Parks |

The Refuge Initiative also works with the local government and businesses to help secure vocational training and employment for the adults.

Being one of the only NGOs operating in our region and located in the critical zone between Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, The Refuge Initiative, in close cooperation with the local government, is making a difference that will last.

The Refuge Initiative is committed to providing trauma care and holistic support to each family. 

With a host of local and international partners, The Refuge Initiative has been able to provide basic health services to the refugees in their care, including medical clinics, dental hygiene clinics and trauma care.

Watch the video below to see just how The Refuge Initiative model for refugee care is bringing hope and dignity those fleeing persecution one family at a time.

The work of The Refuge Initiative is made possible through: