Nuri Kino and ADFA Win The Prestigious Swedish Award for Excellence in Aid Debate and Humanitarian Action.
"You can't call me while I'm driving and tell me this! Do you want me to drive myself to death? Absolutely incredible, what a thing! Big, big thanks to everyone. What a deal! Now I'm almost crying!"
When Global Bar Magazine's David Isaksson caught up with Nuri Kino, the most influential figure in the Aid Debate of 2023, it was evident that Kino was on the move.
"We've had a very difficult day in Syria and Lebanon because we feel that our efforts are not enough. And then you call and say this. It will please all the volunteers, everyone involved. This is absolutely fantastic," he says.
The justification for the award states:
Nuri Kino is a true activist who walks his own path outside the establishment and is not afraid to criticize those who hold power in Sweden, regardless of their political party affiliations. He often writes and reports on errors and abuses. The organization he helped to start, A Demand for Action, operates entirely on its own funds, without relying on aid budgets. When the war broke out in Ukraine, Nuri and A Demand for Action quickly organized their own relief efforts, just as they did after the earthquake in Turkey. To a large extent, the organization's volunteers consist of second-generation Swedes, many of whom are based in Södertälje.
Nuri Kino received by far the most votes among all the nominees. He also received high marks from the jury and has been incredibly active throughout the year, engaging in debates through articles, Twitter posts, and various other contexts, including interviews.
When we caught up with Nuri Kino, A Demand for Action had just opened a new clinic in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon:
"As you know, Lebanon's economy has collapsed, and many Lebanese people cannot afford healthcare. We have started a clinic where we have recruited several doctors and, together with our Lebanese sister organization, we have convinced USAID to finance the clinic's medicine for a year," he says.
Another project in Lebanon aims to create jobs for refugees by producing a series of bracelets called "Survival Jewelry," which will help refugees and those in need earn a living. Through this project, 350-400 families in Lebanon will be able to support themselves financially.
An important part of A Demand for Action's work has been the support for minority groups, not only Christians, in Iraq and Syria. Currently, the organization is working on a new report for the US Department of State and the UN, highlighting the increasing number of people from various minority groups fleeing Iraq and Syria.
"Why is this happening now when the war against ISIS has been over for several years? What new threats are they facing? That is what we are trying to find out. Additionally, we help many refugees find sponsors so they can apply for asylum in Canada because Canada’s private sponsorship program requires all asylum seekers to have a sponsor," Nuri Kino explains.
A Demand for Action also carries out work in Ukraine, where they assist the UN's new rapporteur in conducting interviews with traumatized children about their experiences.
"We also try to follow up on what happened to the children who were kidnapped and taken to Russia. Additionally, we continue our work in Turkey by providing support to those in need after the earthquake. We collaborate with several different organizations there," says Nuri Kino.
"And yes, one more cool thing! Öhman's Furniture used to be the largest furniture store in southern Stockholm, alongside IKEA, before they shut down operations a few years ago. Since then, they have generously donated their large stock to us. We have reached out to other organizations to see if they want to join us in selling the furniture. Among other things, we will cooperate with the Ankarstiftelsen so that half of the money goes to their project in Colombia, and half supports our work in Ukraine."
Yes, there is a lot going on all the time. At the same time, it is more challenging than ever right now, notes Nuri Kino:
"We are never enough - no organization is enough these days. There is less money, and at the same time, the individual needs are greater, with more people needing help than before."
There has been extensive discussion about the lack of diversity in the aid industry, an issue we reported on in Global Bar Magazine, among other things. A Demand for Action stands apart from many other organizations in that it is based in Södertälje and involves individuals from diverse backgrounds, not only ethnic Swedes.
"We involve many different groups. When we were the first responders after the earthquake in Turkey, we saw people who have relatives there, regardless of their religion or ethnicity. When we collected clothes for Ukraine, the majority of those involved were ethnic Swedes. But what was so cool was when we borrowed a church premises in Tensta to sort clothes. Four mosques, Turkish and Arab associations, and several churches collaborated in that work - everyone helped! It was actually one of the most powerful experiences of my life - being able to bring together all these people and organizations who otherwise had no contact with one another."
*The above article was translated from Swedish to English
Link to original Article in Swedish Here