Watching the troubling scenes from Afghanistan, it’s hard not to feel helpless.
In an act of desperation to escape, Zaki Anwari, an Afghan high school student and promising young soccer player, died after falling from a U.S. military plane. After waiting 40 hours in the Kabul airport chaos, a six-week-old infant was pictured sleeping on a dirty suitcase, as his 3-year-old sister was scorched in sunburn. Another baby was lifted over a barbed wire wall to receive medical help from the U.S. Marines, and troops are cradling babies awaiting a safe escape.
Tragically, not everyone is receiving the help they need or deserve: Outside the Kabul airport, a 2-year-old girl was trampled on and died in the chaos. “My heart is bleeding,” the girl’s mother, a former employee of a US. organization in Kabul, told The New York Times. “It was like drowning and trying to hold your baby above the water.”
The stories are overwhelming, not least in part due to America’s direct involvement in the crisis, and President Joe Biden’s callus attitude towards the loss that’s ensued.
Below, Independent Women’s Forum rounded up a handful of nonprofits and other efforts offering Afghan women, children, SIVs and refugees much-needed assistance and hope. Here’s how you can help:
Note: This list is far from comprehensive—please also consider contacting your local churches, nonprofits and community organizations for on-the-ground ways to help. The Office of Refugee Resettlement under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a state-by-state map, which includes links to local area affiliates helping to resettle refugees.
No One Left Behind
Afghan translators are under direct threat from the Taliban. No One Left Behind is the only nationwide nonprofit committed to ensuring that America keeps its promise to our allies and their families who risked their lives for our freedom. This organization was in Afghanistan prior to President Biden’s decision to withdraw helping to evacuate SIVs, and will be there after. 76% of donations directly support SIVs and resettlement to the U.S.
Vital Voices has established an emergency fund for Afghan women and girls. Here’s how the nonprofit describes the effort:
“Vital Voices, in partnership with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, invite you to donate to a special fund and help us act quickly to provide immediate support to at-risk Afghan women and girls. We are connected to a network of women activists in Afghanistan with whom we have worked for the past two decades. We will channel 100% of your donation directly to our partners to support emergency evacuations, emergency housing and resettlement, visa applications, and other emerging priorities.”
(If you’re unable to donate, Vital Voices also organized a petition calling on the Biden administration to not abandon Afghan women and girls. Sign here for free.)
Amazon Refugee Registries
Writer and stay-at-home mom Bethany Mandel rounded up a handful of donation opportunities, including an Amazon gift registry featuring items specifically requested from a Chaplain in Qatar, who is working on the ground to help the well over 150,000 refugees they expect to come through the country this week. That Amazon registry can be found here, along with more details and donation opportunities below. For those with Amazon Prime accounts, this is an easy and practical way to help.
“The biggest needs here are travel-sized toothbrushes/toothpaste, kid-friendly snacks, diapers/wipes, feminine products, and ‘comfort’ toys for children (stuffed animals, crayons, stress balls and the like),” Mandel wrote, adding, “if you’re buying off the Amazon wishlists: Make sure you ship to the gift recipient, not yourself.”
For more opportunities, read Mandel’s full thread by clicking here:
Women for Women International
Women for Women International has been working in Afghanistan since 2002. Since then, the organization says “the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program has reached more than 127,000 women in five provinces in Afghanistan.”
Its program provides training that “helps women know and defend their rights, lead mentally and physically healthy lives, influence decisions at home and in their communities, generate income, and save money for the future, contributing to economic self-sufficiency in their lives and for their families.”
Women for Women International set up an emergency fund to support Afghan women, and was already able to meet a pledge for a $500,000 matching donation.
Women Refugee Commission
The Women Refugee Commission outlined ways for Americans to “contact your Congressional representative and Senators and urge them to call on President Biden to act now to protect at-risk Afghan women’s rights defenders and provide humanitarian assistance for those left in the country.”
You can also donate here.
Help for Afghanistan
Help For Afghanistan was created by two special operations veterans and an Afghanistan veteran to help those who have helped us, plain and simple. The road before August 31st required speed and an all out effort to get people into HKIA (Kabul Airport), but the road beyond is higher risk and will require patience and skill. The best support you can provide right now is donations, your advocacy and helping us spread awareness.
The organization is in need of two things. First, if you know of organizations that have shown success in moving people out of the country, then please connect Help for Afghanistan with them at [email protected]. This is a big effort and requires trusted coordination with experienced people doing this kind of work. Second, if you do know someone who has a family requiring self-rescue assistance please send them to Help for Afghanistan AND to official channels (Department of State).
If you wish to donate to Help For Afghanistan, please click on the link here or email Luke at [email protected] or Dave at [email protected]. Help for Afghanistan does not make any money off of this, funds directly support those who have helped us.
U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council
The U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council (USAWC) is a non-partisan public-private partnership that convenes governments, civil society and the private sector around the goal of supporting Afghan women and girl’s education, healthcare, economic empowerment and leadership. The Council leverages public and private resources to advance member-driven initiatives and highlights the experiences and needs of Afghan women and girls.
In response to the crisis in Afghanistan, the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council listed a dozen organizations that it has partnered with to raise funds for emergency response.