How you can help Afghanistan right now
Afghanistan is now a humanitarian catastrophe with over 570,482 internally displaced people in 2021 alone, 14 million people food insecure and 2 million children malnourished. While many of us are feeling helpless watching the situation unfold from afar, there are some things you can do to help the people of Afghanistan today.
1. Support your local Afghan community
There are thousands of Afghan Australians in Australia, many of them refugees. The harrowing accounts coming out of Afghanistan can be extremely distressing or triggering for those who have fled the violence in recent years, especially those currently seeking asylum or those on temporary protection visas in Australia. Other Australian Afghans may be feeling increasingly worried and fearful about loved ones left behind in Afghanistan or nearby. You can help them by responding in a compassionate and sensitive manner by:
- Lending an ear – listening to their worries and concerns and acknowledging their feelings.
- Refraining from offering quick solutions – the issue is complex, and the resulting distress and grief is intense.
- Encouraging people to take rests and breaks from media coverage.
The Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service (STTARS) provides some great tips on how to respond to people affected by the current crisis in Afghanistan within a trauma-informed care framework.
For Afghan nationals seeking humanitarian protection and support, including visa support and advice, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) has developed a useful resource to help those uprooted by the ongoing crisis.
2. Raise awareness and keep the conversation going
The media coverage will eventually wane, but the plight of the Afghan people will remain. That’s why it’s incredibly important to keep the conversation going. Share news and updates from the ground to keep yourself and others informed on the situation unfolding and ultimately, to get help to those who need it most. However, keeping track of traumatic news can take a toll on your mental health so make sure to take breaks from the media if you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all.
3. Take action
You can write to your local MP and call on the Australian Government to take action to protect vulnerable people from Afghanistan (for example, by expanding our humanitarian intake) and provide better support for refugees already in Australia.
The Refugee and Advice Casework Service (RACS) has developed a great email template which you can use to email your local MP.
There are also a number of petitions you can sign and share to amplify your voice and affect policy change, including: