DENVER – Many Coloradans watching the events unfolding in Afghanistan are wondering how they can help people in the area – not only the thousands of U.S. citizens waiting to be evacuated, but the tens of thousands of Afghan nationals who are now trapped following the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a UN agency tasked with aiding and protecting refugees displaced from their homelands, said Tuesday that more than 550,000 Afghans have been displaced due to conflict and insecurity since the beginning of this year alone.
That number doesn’t account for the number of Afghans now trying to flee their country for fear that renewed Taliban rule will lead to the erosion of freedoms, particularly for women and young girls, under the new Islamist government and its historically strict interpretation of Islam’s legal system, otherwise known as Sharia law.
Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, D-Aurora, said Tuesday his office was receiving many calls from people in Afghanistan or people who know someone in Afghanistan trying to evacuate, and provided some resources for people wanting to help in repatriation efforts.
If you’re in Colorado and would like to help make a difference in the lives of people in Afghanistan, here are some ways you can do so.
Get in touch with your local refugee resettlement office
If you’d like to help Afghan refugees resettling in Colorado, contact your local refugee settlement office to see how you can help.
Colorado has five resettlement office locations you can reach out to: Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Denver and Greeley; the Ethiopian Community Development Council/African Community Center in Denver; and the International Rescue Committee in Denver.
Haven’t used your airline miles? Donate them to Afghan refugees
If you have airline miles you haven’t touched in a while due to the coronavirus pandemic, you can donate them to refugees, asylum-seekers and their immediate family members who have legal approval to travel but cannot afford airfare by clicking here.
Donate to relief funds and aid organizations helping people in Afghanistan
Many international organizations have started emergency relief funds in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan’s capital city.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, Doctors Without Borders, Urgent Crisis Relief for Afghanistan, Relief International, as well as the U.S. UN Human Rights Committee, are looking for donations to help them continue their humanitarian assistance in the region.
Organizations like Save the Children, Afghanaid, Refugee Council USA and International Medical Corps are also looking for donations to provide aid to displaced families, emergency services, refugee protection for Afghan nationals, and emergency and primary healthcare and training.
The AFG Diaspora Hub has a list of other recommended charities with other organizations where you can safely make a donation.
Help organizations in the region fighting to keep Afghan citizens informed
Afghan residents depend on services like Ehtesab, an Afghan-based startup that’s providing citizens in the region as well as their family members abroad with live security updates as the situation continues to unfold.
International Media Support as well as the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, are calling on people to donate to support Afghan journalists whose lives may be at risk under Taliban rule.
You can also donate to Rukshana Media, a journalist group staffed by Afghan women doing some incredible reporting in the region, as well as to Sahar Speaks, which provides training and opportunities for female journalists in Afghanistan.
Support Afghan women
Women and young girls in Afghanistan are at greater risk of persecution and violence under Taliban rule, but you can help support them from abroad.
Women for Women International has launched a donation campaign to help Afghan women. The organization says it has reached over 120,000 women in the area over the past few decades and hopes to increase services for those who may be displaced by the current exodus happening in the country.
The Educate a Child for Change Organization is raising funds for sanitary products for displaced Afghan women.
The Jalala Foundation, in partnership with the Afghan Women and Children Foundation, are teaming up to aid Afghan women and children in need.
The Malala Fund, Sahar and Afghan Women’s Educational Centre are also some organizations focused on empowering women and girls’ education.
Volunteer for airport pickup, apartment setups, and/or meals for Afghans
This program is not yet available in Colorado, but if you are in the United States and wish to help people evacuating Afghanistan, you can volunteer your time to help with services like airport pick-ups, apartment set-ups, or bringing a meal to refugees coming from Afghanistan.
For those in Colorado who aren’t able to volunteer in this form, you can still donate to Neighbors in Need: Afghan Allies to help provide food, housing assistance, clothing, and other basic needs for incoming Afghan refugees.
The North Metro Islamic Center in Northglenn is accepting donations. Some of the most needed items are diapers, school supplies, and household items. The center is located at 11141 Irma Dr., Northglenn, Colo. Call (303) 920-0252 to request more information about other ways you can help.
Get in touch with your elected officials
Let your voice be heard by calling your local elected government officials and lawmakers to demand they open safe and legal avenues for Afghan refugees.
Here are some useful letter templates, petitions, and a list of contact information for elected officials in the U.S. to call in order to demand greater support of Afghan refugees.
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