Written by Venus Aradhya, 15, WA, USA
The magnitude of the issue
After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan over 550,000 refugees are now fleeing for their life and safety. Of these people, the highest at risk are women and children who fear what they must succumb to after their rule. As well as them are US troops who aided Afghanistan in fighting as well as journalists covering the issue. Not only do Afghanistan refugees need to make it out of Afghanistan, they also need to rebuild their lives in other countries which they get to such as the US, or European countries. Many of these countries have blocked access to refugees due to an overload.
How donations can help
Your donations can help in many different ways. You can donate supplies which will be used by the refugees to help rebuild their lives once they move. They will need to leave everything behind in their homes as they rush to flee, so if they get out, they'll need help restarting their entire lives again, so your donations can help with that. You can also donate monetary donations. The money will go to funding them to restart their lives as well as sending airplanes and carriers to help bring the people out of the country and help them escape.
Organizations that help
Here we’ve included several organizations as well as their mission to show you where you can donate to.
What it does: The Los Angeles-based organization relies on crowdsourcing and social media to connect people with a new refugee family whose needs might not be entirely met by the organizations that sponsor them. Miry’s List supports families with temporary housing, emergency supplies, rides to appointments and more. The organization works with new arrival families all over the U.S.; 80% of the Afghan families it has worked with resettled in California.
How you can help: When a newly arrived refugee family is in their first home, apartment or motel room, Miry’s List staff will meet them and create a prioritized list of supplies. A volunteer compiles the wish list online to share with their network, ensures the family’s list needs are met and adds new items as needed. You can help by purchasing an item on the list or volunteering as a list-maker.
Miry’s List is also looking for volunteers who can offer services like tutoring, translating, fundraising, providing transportation for newly settled families and writing welcome letters.
International rescue Comittee:
What it does: International Rescue Committee has been providing humanitarian aid and relief in Afghanistan since 1988. It has offices in Northern California, Los Angeles and San Diego. Stanford Prescott, the network communications officer for the organization, said all of the offices are currently serving recently arrived Afghan refugees and Afghans with special immigrant visas. The Los Angeles office has welcomed more than 90 Afghan refugees in recent months and anticipates many more.
If you have an empty room in your home that can be used for emergency temporary housing, the International Rescue Committee’s partner Airbnb’s Open Homes Program allows you to host an individual or family in need. If you’re a landlord willing to rent to recently arrived refugees, you can volunteer by contacting email@example.com.
UC Berkeley crowdfunding
What it does: The university’s Human Rights Center, in partnership with San Jose State’s Human Rights Institute and the UC Berkeley Afghan Student Assn., created a crowdfunding campaign with the initial goal of providing immediate support for a leading women’s rights activist and journalist with five small children. The campaign’s goals were surpassed, so new donations will be used to support other Afghan refugees.
The university and its partners are also working to quickly secure housing placement for a law school dean and, with Scholars at Risk — an international network organization that supports academic freedom — bring others to the university to secure housing in the Bay Area.
How you can help: The center is accepting donations to its campaign until Friday in an effort to reach its goal of $150,000.
It’s also looking for people to volunteer if they can provide translation services, a room in their home for temporary emergency housing or other resources. You can contact the university’s Human Rights Center by filling out its online form.
Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay
What it does: Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay offers a resettlement program that has long focused on refugees who have experienced persecution based on their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. The majority of refugees it works with are Afghans who served as translators or provided support services for U.S. personnel in Afghanistan.
The organization has accepted the cases of 33 individuals whose flights were canceled and are now waiting for updated arrival dates.
How you can help: In order to help arriving refugees, volunteers are put into groups of four to six members that assist case managers with airport pickups, signing up refugees for social services benefits, helping register children for school, providing English as a second language support and other related needs. To sign up for volunteer opportunities, fill out JFCS East Bay’s online Community Sponsorship form. Volunteers in each group must have a car, have weekday and daytime availability and commit to a minimum period of three to six months of volunteering.
The organization is also accepting monetary donations or asking you to consider purchasing an item from this Amazon wish list that is shipped to its Concord office and put directly in the hands of refugees.
Newcomers Access Center
What it does: The Newcomers Access Center empowers refugees and immigrant families in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties to become independent. It does this by offering services such as health and wellness workshops, translation, employment opportunities, and more.
The center is also currently assisting two Rancho Cucamonga families that have relatives who visited Afghanistan and are now stranded there, trying to help them navigate the U.S. Embassy and bring them home.
How you can help: It’s currently putting a call out for volunteers who can provide services like assisting with airport pickups, apartment setups or bringing a meal to Afghan refugees when they arrive.
In anticipation of arriving refugees, the center is lining up community resources for temporary housing, transportation, household necessities and other services to help refugees get settled. To sign up for a volunteering opportunity or to donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.