The crisis in Afghanistan has shaken the world this week.
Distressing footage of people desperately trying to flee the country as the Taliban took hold of Kabul was heartbreaking to watch unfold.
It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of such a tragic situation, where thousands of refugees have fled the country, and those who stay face horrific implications under the new regime.
But there are ways to help. Whether that is by donating to a trusted organisation, or contacting your local politician, here’s what you can do to make a difference.
Scottish charities and causes supporting refugees
Scottish Refugee Council provides practical support, advice and a listening ear to help people rebuild their lives here in Scotland. Its aim is to provide a place where women, children and men are protected, find safety and support, have their human rights and dignity respected and are able to achieve their full potential.
Refuweegie is a Glasgow-based charity which has provided more than 10,000 community-built, personal welcome packs and emergency support packs to refugees all over Scotland since 2015. Its aim is to ensure all refugees arriving in Glasgow are welcomed to the city in true Glaswegian style.
Refugee Survival Trust provides refugees and people seeking asylum with practical support when they arrive in Scotland, and campaigns for change. It support refugees and asylum seekers find a route out of poverty and connect with other people in the community.
UK charities and organisations supporting Afghanistan refugees
The Refugee Council is a charity which supports refugees as soon as they enter the UK. This includes crisis advice and practical support, helping them to integrate into their new communities and offering mental health counselling to help them come to terms with the trauma they have experienced. It is the only organisation providing a national service in support of refugee children and young people who arrive in the UK alone.
Rescue UK has been working in Afghanistan since 1988, launching relief programmes for people displaced by the invasion of the Soviets. Since, the organisation provided aid under Taliban rule and has become a leader in women’s protection and empowerment. Among its work, the charity provides tents, clean water and sanitation for uprooted families.
Choose Love is a charity which provides supplies and services for refugees – from hot meals to mental health support and legal advice. You can choose what gift you would like to donate on its website and the charity says it goes to those who need it most.
The British Red Cross has launched an Afghanistan crisis appeal to provide food, basic medical supplies and medicines, shelter and water to those in need. The charity has been working on the ground in the country for 30 years, supporting people who have faced conflict, severe food shortages and drought.
International charities and organisations which are helping the Afghan people
Afghan Aid is responding with emergency assistance where needed and supporting families who have lost their homes and livelihoods as a result of the conflict.
The UN Refugee Agency is on the ground delivering life-saving essentials like blankets, sleeping mats and tents to the half a million people already displaced by this conflict. It also provides shelter, food, water, healthcare and protection to families.
Islamic Relief is currently sending water, hygiene kits, shelter, and more for displaced families. The charity is providing orphan support and vocational training, and delivering urgent flood relief to help families suffering from hunger.
Women for Afghan Women is a grassroots civil society organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan. The charity says it is working day and night to provide safe shelter, resources, and aid to keep the thousands of women, children, families, and the staff who are under its care safe.
International Medical Corps UK has worked in Afghanistan since 1984, providing a range of healthcare and emergency relief services. In response to the current situation, the charity has deployed a mobile medical team in Kabul to provide immediate health services. Across the rest of the country, its teams continue to support healthcare facilities and the charity hopes to increase its services.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has launched an urgent appeal for Afghanistan. As one of the few operational humanitarian organisations in country, ICRC has treated more than 40,000 Afghans wounded by weapons in the past three months.
How to contact your MP about the Afghanistan crisis
Another way to help is by contacting your political representative.
On Wednesday (August 18) the UK Parliament is being recalled to debate the situation in Afghanistan.
You can write to your MP to tell them your concerns about the issue.
Always include your own address when writing to your MP as this confirms you are their constituent.