Welcome Churches and Dr Krish Kandiah are calling out for help for Afghan families who have been relocated from Afghanistan to the UK for their safety.
As the disaster in Afghanistan unfolds, hundreds of Afghans and their families are being evacuated to the UK and are in need of assistance. Those being evacuated are Afghan interpreters and support staff who have risked their lives in support of British troops; they and their immediate family members have been flown to safety in the UK just as the Taliban entered Kabul.
The UK government has responded to the plight of these Afghan allies by offering them refuge. Many have arrived without adequate clothing or basic possessions such as pushchairs or mobile phones. They have been separated from their extended family, many of whom are still in Afghanistan. Of those who have been relocated here, many are large families (often with up to six children) and are being housed in temporary accommodation with families split into different rooms and no place to cook or prepare food. The UK Government has today announced that it will resettled a further 20,000 Afghan refugees with 5000 resettled in the first year.
In response to the needs and help required to support the Afghan families, the Welcome Churches Emergency Afghan Fund has been set up to ensure that Afghan families arriving across the UK have access to services and support to help them integrate and adjust into a new community. Welcome Churches will provide mental health and well-being support for Afghan families who have suffered through tremendous trauma, loss and grief and train local churches to ensure a good, cross-cultural welcome. It is impossible to imagine the feelings of loss, fear and isolation that these families are experiencing at this time as they face a future full of questions and uncertainty. Donations can be made through the Welcome Churches website welcomechurches.org/donate or on Stewardship .
Dr Krish Kandiah, working with the Welcome Churches Emergency Afghan Fund, had this to say: “These brave people have risked their lives for our troops. We welcome the government’s generosity in offering them a home here in the UK. But now we need to step up and help our allies to feel welcome and supported in our communities. It has been so inspiring to see local churches come and help with practical support. Much more will be needed.”
S* is a recently relocated Afghan, he had this to say: “We are grateful for the opportunity to be here in the UK but we are extremely worried about our families left behind. We are also concerned for many of our colleagues who have not made it out of Afghanistan yet.”
Due to a chronic shortage of appropriate social housing, families are expected to face many months in temporary accommodation and challenges with accessing employment and education.
Local churches have a reach and capacity to help that other organisations do not have with volunteers, buildings and facilities across the country. They should be at the forefront of a welcoming and inclusive society. Welcoming new neighbours from across the world, especially when they are in need, is part of the biblical mandate Christians have to welcome the stranger. Welcome Churches has the experience and expertise to provide support and training to the local church. Together we can help to ensure the long-term integration of Afghan families into the UK.