Community Services for Refugees

Social Counseling and Assistance Centre for Non-Afghan Refugees (SCAC) 

Supported by UNHCR Islamabad

(Project period: July 2006 to Dec, 2013)

Community Services for Recognized Refugees


SACH has been active in providing social counseling and assistance for recognized Afghan and non–Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, referred by the UNHCR in Islamabad, urban Punjab, Karachi and KPK province since July 2006 under Community Services Program for Refugees. The program caters to Somali, Iraqi, Irani, Russian and Afghan refugees among many other nationalities. SACH ALAC (Advice & Legal Aid Centre) has been working since August 2002 and currently working in KPK with support of UNHCR Peshawar and PRM.

Objectives of Community Services Program for Refugees


The main objectives of the project were:

·         To ensure that the vulnerable non-Afghan refugees receive basic assistance for their socio-economic, medical, psychological, educational and protection / security needs till a durable solution is found for them.

·         To enable refugees to make better and more informed decisions related to solutions to their problems through mutual consultations and participation.

·         To work for empowerment of refugee women and eliminate existing gender based discriminations from all aspects of their lives through adequate participation and representation in public and private spheres.

·         To reduce the vulnerability of refugee women through prevention, protection and provision  of care / rehabilitation for incidences of gender based violence, particularly sexual violence against refugee women.

·         To facilitate protection of vulnerable women and children by enhancing their capacity, and to work on their emotional health through psychotherapy and counseling in order to educate them about their rights.

·         To identify vulnerable refugee children, especially working and unaccompanied minors, and provide them protection from all forms of exploitation and abuse.



  •          Psychosocial counseling.
  •          Subsistence allowance to approved cases by UNHCR.
  •          Shelter (shelter home and ad-hoc accommodation).
  •          Self-reliance (skill development training, micro entrepreneurship development training, self employment).
  •          Educational assistance (for primary Education).
  •          Medical assistance (preventive / curative).
  •          Humanitarian assistance for specific cases in exceptional circumstances.
  •          Legal advice / aid.
  •          Social reviews to assess and highlight issues of non-Afghan refugees.
  •          Networking and referral system.


Psychosocial Counseling


 It comprises of psychosocial and economic support for refugees. The process includes:

  •          Over-all  assessment.
  •          Psychosocial counseling.
  •         Home visits. (SA assessment, Re-assessment, Information verification).
  •         Subsistence Allowance.

Subsistence allowance is offered to vulnerable refugees as per the criteria of UNHCR. The SA is decided on the basis of scope of vulnerability for cases approved by UNHCR.

Shelter Services / Ad-hoc Accommodation


Safe accommodation for the vulnerable referral cases from UNHCR along with a complete package of rehabilitation services comprising of:

  •         Psychosocial counseling.
  •          Psychotherapy.
  •         Medical care.
  •          Physiotherapy.
  •          Legal advice and assistance.

Skill development trainings


Skill development trainings were offered to all refugees in order to reduce their dependence on SA and make them self reliant. The trainings were compulsory for every refugee entitled to SA. The available trainings and courses include trades such as mobile repairing, cooking, beautician courses, electrician courses, computer skills, language trainings, plumbing, auto mechanics, tailoring, candle / pot making, porcelain work, embroidery, etc.

The next phase of this component was to provide micro entrepreneurship training to the accomplishing refugees of afore mentioned skill trainings. The purpose of micro entrepreneurship development training was to provide grants (in the form of raw materials) to the ones interested in establishing a small business. SACH also facilitates them in developing linkages in the market.

Basic education assistance


The program identifies Afghan working and unaccompanied minors and non-Afghans for basic education and assists them in admissions to schools. 100% primary education assistance is provided in the form of admission / tuition / transportation fees, books and uniforms. Proper monitoring and follow up was an essential part of this component to ensure good quality education.

Medical care and Health education


The component of medical care composed of medical services, health education and psychological counseling. The services provided in this context were:

  •         OPD services.
  •          Referral to different government and / or private hospitals (if needed), lab investigations, vaccinations, delivery cases, psychiatric             consultations.
  •         Catering to special needs such as eye-sight spectacles, crutches, speech therapy, behavior disorders especially in children, etc.
  •          Reproductive health services.
  •          Family planning services through MCH networking.
  •          Rehabilitation for substance abuse.
  •          Health education includes safe motherhood, post-natal care, importance of breast feeding, weaning food, EPI vaccination, family planning and Islam, HBV & HCV prevention, sexual and gender based violence, menopausal issues, etc.

Humanitarian Assistance


Humanitarian assistance was provided to extremely vulnerable individuals on exceptional basis. These services were being provided to Afghans / Non-Afghans in terms of extending legal aid, emergency health care, shelter facilities, and occasional minimal financial grants. These services are provided only once in emergencies where no better alternative were available.

Advice & Legal Aid Centre


SACH-ALAC advice & legal aid centre services are provided to Afghan (PoR cardholders) and recognized non Afghan refugees in Rawalpindi district, Attock district and Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa.

Networking and Referral system


Networking with line departments, NGOs and other government institutions is an important component of this project. SACH refers refugees to different places whenever deemed necessary in order to facilitate in finding solutions to their problems.

Gender Based Violence


 SACH has a multi-faceted strategy to overcome the GBV issue. The interventions to overcome GBV include:

GBV Response


 These activities include:

  •      Emergency aid. (Medical, legal, security, etc.)
  •      Psychosocial support. (Counseling, activation of support structures.)
  •      Documentation and follow-ups.

GBV Prevention


These activities include:

  •          Awareness raising activities. (Workshops, community / group discussions.)
  •         Information dissemination regarding preventive measures.

Awareness Raising Workshops