Government, Health Care, and Nonprofits

Nonprofit inks agreement with United Nations

October 9, 2018
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A subsidiary of a local nonprofit has formed an agreement with the United Nations to provide refugee services abroad.

Bethany Global, part of Grand Rapids-based Bethany Christian Services, has entered a “working agreement” with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, or UNHCR, to provide mental health and social services to Sudanese refugees in Gambella, Ethiopia.

Under the agreement, Bethany will focus on two areas: providing foster care-type services to protect unaccompanied minors living in the camps; and psycho-social support to women and children affected by trauma.

Both programs will run in tandem with the UNHCR's humanitarian efforts, which are focused on providing basic resources.

"Currently, there are approximately 40,000 unaccompanied minors in the camps in Gambella," said Kristi Gleason, VP of global programs, Bethany Global. "When the UNHCR reached out to us because of our expertise … we knew we had to step in and offer mental health services to those who have experienced so much trauma."

Bethany is working with the UNHCR in Bogota on a similar working agreement in Colombia to serve Venezuelan children coming into Colombia.


Bethany Christian Services, founded in 1944, provides services in 36 states and 15 countries.

In 2017, Bethany served nearly 46,000 expectant parents, children and families worldwide.  

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