Even before the Islamist military organization of Taliban seized 26 out 34 provincial capitals in Afghanistan last weekend, the military insurgence in this country had already displaced 550,000 civilians — 80% of which are women and children. According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), more than 18 million people are still in need and 75% of these are women and girls.
The Philippines is 5,911 km away from the now Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. But digital media has made us feel closer to the political turmoil of this country, and if you’re aching to do something about it, here are a few things you can do to help.
Open your wallets
There are several donation drives and organizations where you could donate for the purpose of helping the millions of displaced innocent women, girls, civilians, expats, and even journalists in Afghanistan. Yes, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and we all have a lot going on right now, so if you can’t afford to donate, don’t feel bad about it. But if you can spare the cash, consider donating to support crisis workers, refugees, and more.
Here are some of the organizations you can support:
- Charity watchdog groups have consistently awarded this agency with top ratings for efficient use of donor contributions, which includes the A rating it got from the CharityWatch. Your proceeds would go directly to providing safe shelters, clean water, and sanitation to displaced Afghans and expats. Learn more about the IRC’s annual reports, financial disclosures, and procurement policies here.
- They offer regular donations on a monthly basis to consistently provide aid to the displaced people. For an affordable rate of P750 a month to, you can help provide the necessary sanitary kits to a struggling family. Upgrade it to P1,500 a month and it would include comfortable blankets and a kitchen set. And for P2,000 a month, refugees would have plastic sheets for a more durable temporary shelter.
- Your donation will go directly to displaced families, particularly to those who were affected by the recent insurgencies led by the Taliban. The recipient families are also encouraged to send video footage where your proceeds has went into.
- According to the latest UN report on Children and Armed Conflict, 5,700 Afghan children have been killed and maimed between January 2019 to December 2020. Of this figure, 46% were caused by the Taliban and 35% were from the government and pro-government forces. With this alarming data, innocent children are at the center of attacks against vulnerable civilians. By donating to Visions for Children, these innocent kids will be given access to clean and nutritious food, education, and potential integration programs in Germany.
- Being an activist and a politician in Afghanistan is already risky, how much more being a female one? This online fundraising drive is aimed to help female politicians and activists who received death threats or have even fled their homes.
Support Afghan journalists
Journalists are doing crucial work in Afghanistan. Though some of the journalists in Afghanistan are foreign, most of them are local and their work is getting increasingly more dangerous by the day. Some journalists have evacuated the country, others have gone into hiding, while some are still reporting the news.
To support Afghan journalists, you can refer to this list by the International Center for Journalists. Avoid contacting Afghan journalists directly because English-language or foreign correspondence on their devices could be harmful if found by the Taliban.
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The history of the Afghan conflict can be traced back to the 1970s, during the heat of the Cold War. What followed was over 40 years of war and poverty, so even before the US invasion and the recent Taliban takeover, the country was already in dire need of aid.
To better understand the situation, look up reputable sources (i.e. don’t rely on your high school batchmate’s opinions on Facebook) and stay tuned to the news. It’s a complicated situation with nuances that can’t be summarized in a single tweet or Facebook status, so do what you can to educate yourself about the situation so that you’ll have a better understanding of what you can do to help.
— SANJAY KUMAR (@SanjayBhuriya07) August 16, 2021
The world needs to know more about this crisis, and word of mouth in social media is powerful. Yes, it’s being covered by major news organizations, but that doesn’t guarantee that it’ll reach the world. Do what you can to educate the people around you so that you can all take concrete action to help.
However, this does come with a caveat…
Don’t add to misinformation
2) Instead follow and amplify the voices, work, and initiatives of Afghan activists, leaders, journalists, artists, and researchers.
— Bushra Ebadi (@Bushra_Ebadi) August 14, 2021
Again, the situation in Afghanistan is complicated, and unless you’ve been following it closely or are directly affected by the situation, you don’t need to add to the noise. Instead of turning into yet another armchair political scientist with poorly-researched hot takes, you can amplify the voices of experts who actually know what they’re talking about.
After President Biden’s speech, urge him to act swiftly to protect Afghans in need of safety, including people who risked their lives to help the U.S. The lives of countless Afghans depend on it. Take action right now. https://t.co/Xl3pFEkmt7
— IRC – International Rescue Committee (@RESCUEorg) August 16, 2021
Urge lawmakers to take action by signing petitions, reaching out to them on social media, or even emailing them directly. The International Rescue Committee has an ongoing petition urging President Biden to act swiftly to save Afghan lives. You can sign here.
Help with resettlement efforts
According to a statement from Malacañang, the Philippines is willing to take in refugees from Afghanistan. The Department of Justice will be handling the processing of Afghan refugees. At the moment, it’s unclear how Afghan refugees would arrive in the Philippines, but we should keep our eyes peeled for opportunities to help displaced families who come to our shores.
Strongly urge your families to come home
The Department of Foreign Affairs estimates that there are 130 Filipinos in Afghanistan. 51 of them have already been evacuated, with the first batch of 32 individuals fleeing to Doha, Qatar on Sunday and the other 19 about to leave the country immediately. But according to Joseph Gleen Gumpal, a Filipino community leader in Kabul, there are an estimated 173 Filipinos in Afghanistan, 73 of which have already agreed to join the Philippine government’s repatriation efforts. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque is calling on relatives of OFWs in Afghanistan to contact them and urge them to come home for safety purposes.
Here are the following contact details of the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan:
- Whatsapp/Viber: +923335244762
- Messenger/Facebook: facebook.com/atnofficers.islamabadpe or facebook.com/OFWHelpPH
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your thoughts about the crisis in Afghanistan? Share your comments below.