ARIA International was conceived in Guinea in 1995 in the wake of the brutal civil conflicts that ravaged the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, which formed the Mano River Union. The founding of African Relief in Action or ARIA was to form a committee of refugees that will undertake humanitarian effort aimed at addressing the immediate needs of refugees. The objective was to exert pressure on the UN refugee agency UNHCR and its partners to accelerate their actions in meeting the demands of people fleeing their countries as a result of civil crises. In the meantime, dealing with issue of attendant abuse and neglect of those considered vulnerable within the refugee camps became prominent in our campaign. Sexual abuse and child labor were widespread which makes the work of the committee more challenging.
The employed a strategy of persistently engaging UNHCR and its partners, the host communities and state security on a variety of issues that threatens the security of the host country. Consequently, a community action drive to foster peaceful coexistence was initiated. At the same time, ARIA was consulting with humanitarian organizations to develop programs that seek the welfare of refugees. This approach culminated in building capacities that benefited refugees and the host communities. Non-formal life skills training was introduced, primary education for unaccompanied children was provided and resettlement of refugees to third and safe countries was facilitated.
ARIA’s goal is to improve the welfare, well-being and livelihoods of people ravaged by civil wars and other disasters.