Organisation: The Ara Trust

Amount: £59 600.00

Year: 2017

Duration: 24 months

Country: India

Region:

Issue

In November 2016, the Indian government announced the immediate demonetization of large currency notes, whereby these would no longer be legal tender. The objective was for India to transform into a cashless economy where every individual has a bank account, thus achieving complete financial inclusion. This necessarily excludes those who do not have access to the formal banking system, such as refugees. Their lack of legal status and access to government documentation had already rendered them extremely marginalized, vulnerable, and at risk. With the overnight change in policy and no access to banking services, refugees had no means of acquiring the new currency. They have thus been left completely destitute and excluded from the economy. This has particularly impacted women and children who constitute nearly 70% of the refugee population and are most vulnerable to economic and other forms of exploitation.

Project

The Ara Trust is studying the new financial policy so it can identify the appropriate avenues to help the 40,000 affected refugees, registered with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) India, to access financial services. Further, it will engage with the relevant authorities to create awareness about the specific needs of this population, advocate for their financial inclusion, and seek clarifications on the implementation of current financial policies. It will share the findings with UNHCR and other interlocutors to inform appropriate interventions. The project will also use these findings to implement a targeted financial education programme for the refugee community and train service providers so as to create a referral pathway between the community and service providers.

At the end of the project, it is expected that government and other relevant authorities will be better able to respond to the needs of refugees, enabling them to access financial services, thus paving the way for their inclusion into the mainstream economy.

The Ara Trust was established in 2013 as a centre for the study of refugee law and forced migration. The Ara Trust is a woman-led organisation with an all-woman staff. It seeks to use innovative methods to expand the protection space available for forced migrants and refugees in India. The Ara Trust works closely on refugee issues with UNCHR, India. It receives funding from several institutional donors including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, The Clifford Chance Foundation, University of York and AmplifyChange.

The Ara Trust

The Ara Trust was established in 2013 as a centre for the study of refugee law and forced migration. The Ara Trust is a woman-led organisation with an all-woman staff. It seeks to use innovative methods to expand the protection space available for forced migrants and refugees in India. The Ara Trust works closely on refugee issues with UNCHR, India. It receives funding from several institutional donors including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, The Clifford Chance Foundation, University of York and AmplifyChange.  www.aratrust.in