Many fled their homes in haste and arrived in the UK with little more than the clothes on their backs. This is what you can do to help them
Moved by the crisis in Afghanistan, many people in the UK have been quick to offer donations, with charities reporting an influx of clothes, toiletries and other necessities.
Such items are still 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.
Image: Sarah Brown
One of the key challenges is housing the estimated 10,000 Afghanistan 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’.
Speaking of Airbnb, the room sharing platform has pledged to temporarily house 20,000 Afghanistan refugees globally. The company will front the costs, and is calling on more people to register as hosts through its Open Homes initiative.
Image: Sonnie Hiles
As refugees are resettled, many in people’s homes, it is vital that they are made to feel welcome. “Simple acts of kindness go a long way,” said Laramie Shubber of the Refugee Trauma Initiative, a non-profit that provides displaced people with mental health support.
Equally, refugees must be given the space they need to settle in and process what they have been through. “It’s important to allow people to invite you in,” said Shubbard. “Put ownership [of the relationship] in their hands.”
Image: Katie Moum
Care4Calais is calling for volunteers to help it sort through donations to ensure they are dispatched swiftly to those who need them.
The British Red Cross, meanwhile, has various roles available, including for volunteer caseworkers. They will be responsible for supporting refugees in the coming weeks and months as they rebuild their lives, find jobs and settle in the UK.
There are also volunteering positions at Breaking Barriers, which assists 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.
Image: Remmi Walle
Charities working to resettle Afghanistan refugees are also calling 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.
Likewise the British Red Cross, which uses 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 donations as it helps refugees navigate the traumatic process of feeling their homeland to forge new lives in a foreign land.
Main image: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters