How to play a part in helping with the situation in Afghanistan

In this blog, Deputy Head Girl, Chloe, looks at the different ways we can provide help to Afghan refugees.

1. Donate clothes and other essentials
You can donate any spare clothes, toiletries or other necessities by either going to a charity shop or even mailing it. Donate any tents, blankets, sleeping bags and pillows etc. 

These items are desperately needed. The Manchester-based charity Care4Calais has established drop-off points across the UK, where people can take essentials that will be sorted and given to those in need.  

Care4Calais says that its most in-demand items are quality footwear and coats for adults and children, as well as buggies, baby carriers and unlocked smartphones. We hope to organise a school donation in which people will be able to donate clothes and other essentials – make sure to look for updates and let us know if you want to get involved!  

2. Offer a spare room
One of the main challenges is housing the estimated 10,000 Afghan refugees who are set to arrive in the UK this year. People can offer spare rooms or second homes through the government website, or via charities such as Refugees at Home and Room for Refugees, affectionately known as ‘Airbnb for refugees’. The room-sharing platform – Airbnb -  has pledged to temporarily house 20,000 Afghan refugees globally. The company will pay for the costs, and is calling on more people to register as hosts through its Open Homes initiative. Even if you cannot house anyone you can always encourage others to do so or donate in order to help house those in need.  

3. Be welcoming
As refugees are resettled, many in people’s homes, it is really important that they feel welcome. ‘Simple acts of kindness go a long way,’ said Laramie Shubber of the Refugee Trauma Initiative, a non-profit company that provides displaced people with mental health support.  We also need to keep in mind that refugees need to be given space to settle in and process what they have been through. ‘It’s important to allow people to invite you in,’ said Shubber. ‘Put ownership [of the relationship] in their hands.’ 

4. Volunteer your time
Care4Calais is calling for volunteers to help it sort through donations and ensure they are dispatched swiftly to those who need them. 

The British Red Cross  has lots of roles available, including for volunteer caseworkers. You can help be responsible for supporting refugees as they rebuild their lives, find jobs and settle in the UK. You can simply be a new friend, a support in really difficult times.  

You could also volunteer at Breaking Barriers, a charity that helps refugees in finding work. The charity is looking for volunteers who can teach English, or who are willing to help refugees navigate the UK-jobs market and achieve their career ambitions. You can spend an hour or so every week helping to teach English over Zoom. 

During the summer I was lucky enough to do an internship at CBS news and I got the opportunity to talk to Zoe Gardner. Zoe Gardner is a spokesperson for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. She told me how awful the situation is and how they are really overwhelmed at the office. The organisation tackles: 

  • Challenging unjust laws and practices that restrict rights and lead to discrimination;
  • Influencing the debate on migration and fighting against the politics of hate and fear; 
  • Supporting vulnerable individuals & families with reliable, high-quality legal advice;
  • Improving the quality of advice elsewhere through training and capacity building; 
  • Building and supporting progressive movements at grassroots and at the national level. 

At the moment they are fighting to get people safely out of Afghanistan. I was told that they receive thousands of calls every day from desperate people trying to both escape and rescue loved ones. You can help them make a change by either volunteering your own time to work with the amazing team or by donating online. 

5. Donate money
Charities working to resettle Afghan refugees are asking for financial donations. Care4Calais says it needs funds to buy essentials such as underwear, and also to cover the cost of storing and transporting goods.  

The British Red Cross is also a great place to donate as they use the donations to provide warm clothes, blankets, soap, toothbrushes and nappies for refugees.  

The Refugee Council has also launched a fundraising appeal. It will use funds raised to pay for mental health support, employment assistance and English language and integration classes for refugees. 

The Refugee Trauma Initiative is also appealing for donations as it helps refugees navigate the traumatic process of leaving their homeland to forge new lives in a foreign land. 

Boys in Kabul Province, Afghanistan
Insights \ UIG