Afghans have a long and respected role in the development of Australia, particularly the inland trade routes. The role of the Afghan camel trains in early transport is remembered in the name of the Ghan railway, now a luxury railway service on the North-South route from Adelaide to Darwin. Afghans have continued to contribute in many ways to Australian society over the past 200 years.
Australia's involvement in Afghanistan during recent decades is well documented. Afghan's and Australian's have worked together in attempting to return Afghanistan to a free and democratic society following years of war and tyranical rule. During this time Australian soldiers, diplomats, and aid workers have been supported by local Afghan people working in government roles, as interpreters, as office staff, and any number of other positions. There were 196 local embassy staff from Kabul alone.
Unfortunately the efforts of twenty years have come to an abrupt and unexpected turning point that has left the people who assisted Australian workers in fear of their lives and livelihoods. A number of these people have been able to leave Kabul by aircraft, but many are still in Afghanistan and will no doubt attempt to get out via other borders.
Over the coming months many of these Afghans will begin arriving in Australia to start a new life as so many others have done before them.
Through our partners we are planning to provide some capacity for delivery of welfare and advocacy for these people to help the get settled into their lives in Australia. There may be a need for short to medium term accomodation of Afghan refugee families in coming months. The COVID situation is going to present some challenges to government in finding housing. Our team has discussed the use of institutional buildings, of the kind found in defence, hospital and religious properties. The needs of the beneficiaries are fairly simple; I think in most cases they will be able to take care of themselves with a little guidance from their hosts.
We are collecting funds to assist Afghan Refugees- Can you Help?
Funds donated to our necessitous circumstance fund for "Afghan Refugees" will be used to assist with small handouts to refugees in necessitous circumstance to help them with immediate needs while they await medium term assistance and ultimately get themselves estalished in Australia. The funds would be used in ways such as giving $100 vouchers to allow the purchase of small items, toiletries, general items they may not have been able to bring with them. Just for the embassy staff this would amount to about $20,000. If enough money is raised we will also seek to assist with the short-term housing and other needs mentioned above.
Please help by donating through the Paypal link below - Credit Cards accepted
or send your cheque or money order to:
MSC Mission Office
PO Box 177
Kensington NSW 1465
All donations are tax deductable.
What has been done
It has been especially difficult for the new arrivals due to the Covid lockdowns across Sydney and Melbourne and the closure of most stores. Simple things like going to the shops to buy clothes is not an option and most charity services are shut down. Government services provide their processing, but it has been up to our community networks to assist the new arrivals. Great work everyone!
In specific areas where our new Afghan arrivals have been placed temporarily or permanently we have seen
Collecting donated clothes and other items
Sorting and distributing items
Providing local donations
Making larger donations to MSC fund
Language and translation assistance
meeting families in transition at motels giving
welcome baskets and food support,
cash and gift-cards,
Donated clothes and shoes
additional mobile phones mainly for the wives so they can contact family in Afghanistan via WhatsApp
local information sheet including contact numbers for services and map showing location of nearest shops, supermarkets
Toys, games, books, computers
transport from motel
meeting families now in permanent housing
ongoing financial support
assistance with settling in
Money from the MSC fund has been and will be used for
supporting local initiatives
Payments of up to $300 by bank transfer, shopping vouchers to $300 for grocery and personal items whilst arrivals are in quarantine and subsequent 28 day temporary hotel accomodation awaiting settlement. Payments meet shortcomings in settlement agency provision of necessities and fill the gap whilst awaiting commencement of special Centrelink payments available to refugees.
With fund growth, further support could be considered for refugees as they settle in to housing. In accordance with the “hand up principle”, payments for expenses not met by Commonwealth funding could be considered. Examples: Items for education of children, basic cooking appliances, internet provider connection costs, funding of small enterprise setups to augment family income (i.e. lawn mower, basic handyman tools, sewing machine).
Liaising with other charitable and social support organisations to provide clothing, shoes and domestic furnishings. Networking with individuals or organisations who may provide ongoing advocacy and assistance
Other Links of Interest
New settlement support package for recent arrivals from Afghanistan (homeaffairs.gov.au)
Meanwhile, the video link below may be of interest. It was sent to us about Mahboba Rawi’s orphanage in Kabul.