Responding to the Afghan Refugee Crisis

Responding to the Afghan Refugee Crisis

08 September 2021 by Alison Tsang in Refugee & Asylum.

What Can I do to Help?

Most of us have seen the horrendous scenes from Kabul airport and the rest of Afghanistan on our TVs and other media channels.

And like many, you may have felt heartbroken, powerless and wishing you could help.

If you have felt such compassion, our friends at Welcome Churches have partnered with Krish Kandiah at Global Good to help the church respond to those arriving in the UK from Afghanistan.

Welcome Churches, who have huge experience of supporting churches who work with asylum Seekers & refugees, have set up Afghan Welcome. This is a simple centralised place to help co-ordinate churches efforts. They are also liaising with government and civic agencies to ensure a joined up approach and that the help gets to where it is needed.

Simple Steps to help

  1. Register with Welcome Churches HERE

  2. Sign up for Afghan Welcome for updates HERE

Then Afghan Welcome will get in touch with you to let you know what more you can do.

Afghan Welcome

A Welcoming Presence

Some churches may be in the vicinity of a hotel where Afghan arrivals are being housed as they arrive (until longer term accommodation can be found). If this is the case, once you register with Afghan Welcome, they will let you know of this.

You then have the opportunity of practical help: a welcoming presence to those arriving.

  • This means then just simply showing up at the hotel; perhaps providing small simple things they may need; helping them find the local playground for their children, or listening to their needs. It can be a huge blessing.
  • If you know of those who speak Farsi/Dari or Pashto, then of course that would be helpful but is not necessary.
  • You also may well find that other faith groups & voluntary organisations are involved in this work too. It’s a great way to partner with others locally, build networks and relationships with others. It also makes sure there isn’t any doubling up. So look out for ways to work together.

If you are new to supporting asylum seekers in hotels, we’ve put together this downloadable sheet of helpful set of guidelines and ideas

It is based on the experience & learning of churches who have been befriending asylum seekers in hotels in the last year during Covid.

It can be downloaded below.

Please note it was written in Feb 2021 while still in lockdown, and is relating to asylum seekers of all nationalities, not just Afghans, but the information and guidance is still of relevance.

How Else Can I give?

What is not helpful right now is to donate second hand goods into local groups. Most say they are inundated and cannot take donations.

Unless the people you are donating to have a direct link with a group helping those arrivals settle, and have a specific list of things they need, it can actually cause more work than help. The sad truth is that many donations will not be fit for purpose, will not be able to get to those who need it and will likely end up in landfill.

However if you do want to contribute there are two easy ways:

Baby Basics are a charity working with Welcome Churches and have set up a donation list of simple things that families require e.g. nappies, bottles etc. These will go directly to those arriving in hotels.

You can find the Amazon Wishlist HERE and other items to donate HERE

Welcome Churches have set up an Emergency Afghan Fund. Again all money given will be used to purchase specific things that arrivals need. You can donate HERE

Get on our knees

What we can all do is pray.

  • Pray for Afghanistan.

  • Pray for those arrived in the UK having fled their homes; that they receive welcome, are able to get what they need, can be found longer term accommodation quickly, and can process the trauma they have experienced surrounded by love.

  • Pray especially for children that have arrived, often in large families, who will likely be contained in one hotel room.

  • Pray for those still left in Afghanistan under the new regime.

  • Pray for safe passage for those who still are desperate for it.

  • Pray for Welcome Churches and all the other government officers, civic organisations, faith groups and churches and charities who are responding and meeting the need of the arrivals. It can be exhausting heartbreaking work. Pray for them not to feel overwhelmed.

  • Pray for God’s resources to respond, and the abundance of Christ in all this work.

If you are a church that is involved with welcoming and settling Afghan refugees and would like support please do get in touch- we have a network of churches already doing similar across the Diocese.

We are also always keen to hear, and tell Good News stories of how the church locally is providing such an unconditional welcome through the love of God.

Get in touch HERE.

Alison Tsang

Alison Tsang

Alison heads up Compassionate Communities for the Diocese of London, particularly leading on issues around Financial Wellbeing, Modern Slavery & Refugees, and the Climate Crisis.

View all posts by Alison Tsang

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