• As Afghan refugees arrive in the UK, what can you do to help?

As Afghan refugees arrive in the UK, what can you do to help?

09 September 2021

Charities need clothing, baby items, smartphones and cash donations, plus spare rooms or your time.

About 10,000 Afghans are forecast to be flown to the UK this year for resettlement under two schemes after fleeing the Taliban takeover, , but the true number could be higher.

Half worked for the British army or other UK institutions and qualify for the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (Arap). The others will arrive on the new Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme, which prioritises other vulnerable people.

Ministers have pledged to welcome as many as 20,000 people through the resettlement scheme long term, and there will undoubtedly be many who make their way independently via land and sea through Calais.

Much uncertainty remains over where and how the new arrivals will be accommodated, but here is what you can do to help.

From where are Afghans fleeing their country?

Many are waiting outside Kabul airport, or heading to Afghanistan’s borders with countries including Pakistan and Iran. Of the 11,000-plus who have been evacuated on RAF flights, most are in hotels near UK airports. All have to go into Covid quarantine for 10 days on arrival. They may stay for longer while more permanent accommodation is found.

What are their immediate needs?

Many arrived in flip-flops with just the clothes on their back, according to Clare Moseley, who runs Care4Calais. The charity has collection points around the UK for donations, which are sorted according to the number and age of people in nearby hotels. It particularly wants good quality shoes and coats for adults and children, baby buggies and baby carriers and unlocked smartphones. Help by labelling up donations into bags showing the size or age of items.

What about donating money?

Care4Calais needs money for new underwear and socks, and for the cost of hiring storage units and van transport. You could also donate to the Refugee Council, which has an appeal to help Afghans resettling in the UK. The British Red Cross is appealing for donations and is already supporting hundreds of people newly arrived from Afghanistan in Leicester, Chelmsford, Hampshire, Cheshire, Birmingham, Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and Wrexham in Wales.

Can I donate my time?

Care4Calais is desperate for volunteers to help sort donations and for van drivers to ferry goods around. Look up which organisations in your local area already work with refugees and asylum seekers and offer your services longer term. You could offer help with befriending, English teaching, navigating administration or anything else you think the new arrivals might need.

Can I offer my spare room or second home?

Refugees at Home and Rooms for Refugees, which connect those with spare rooms with refugees and asylum seekers, have received applications from almost 2,000 would-be hosts this month. It is not yet clear where the Afghans will settle, but the charity is now only accepting applications from hosts in the cities it thinks will be most popular: London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Where will the refugees end up?

It is not yet clear. They will be free to live wherever they want and may ultimately choose big cities where there are already established Afghan communities. At least initially, however, most are expected to be resettled with local authorities who will volunteer to take a certain number of people. This is what happened with a similar programme to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Syrians between 2015 and 2020.

There may also be a community sponsorship scheme, which allows local communities such as a church congregation to welcome a family. Community sponsors provide housing for the refugees and support them in integrating into life in the UK. They help to arrange access to medical and social services, English language tuition and support towards employment and self-sufficiency.

 

Article by Helen Pidd from The Guardian

Main source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/27/afghan-refugees-arrive-uk-what-can-you-do-help