ASSAF was founded in 2007 by Yiftach Millo - an MA graduate of Development Studies who worked for 10 years with refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa through Oxfam, UNICEF, HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), and other international organizations. On his return to Israel in 2006, Millo realized that there was a real need to establish an operational presence that would combine humanitarian and psychosocial responses to the relatively new influx of refugees from Africa. Following intensive groundwork, Millo established ASSAF as an NGO in his home in February 2007.
ASSAF’s workers were deeply concerned about the harsh treatment of African refugees, especially in light of the fact that Israel should, given its people’s history of persecution, have a moral obligation to assist those fleeing danger. Through the provision of humanitarian and psychosocial services, ASSAF became known as the central source of support for the emerging refugee community.
Initially, emergency ‘life’ support, and punctual psychosocial care for the rapidly growing number of crises characterized ASSAF’s activities. ASSAF now provides both punctual and long- term emergency support, running programs which protect and strengthen the underprivileged, and largely misunderstood, African refugee community in Israel. ASSAF also works towards effecting refugees’ deserved asylum rights in the knowledge that, without efforts to change overhead policies, grassroots work will continue as ‘firefighting’.