Afghanistan: How Switzerland is helping (and what you can do).

The situation in Afghanistan continues to remain dramatic and unpredictable. The Swiss government has so far made the pledge to welcome roughly 200 people (the local employees from the Swiss Development and Cooperation agency and their families) in Switzerland. They should be flown to Switzerland in the coming days.

Calls were made last week for Switzerland to welcome at least 10 000 Afghan refugees but this was met with scepticism by the government. Another call for Afghan asylum seekers already in Switzerland to be accepted as refugees has a greater chance of being accepted (roughly 1000 people). Facilitated visas for family reunification are currently not being considered by the government, which points out that the situation in Syria in 2013 and today in Afghanistan are very different. Most of the families of people who already have refugee status in Switzerland (over 11 000 people) are already living outside of Afghanistan.

The government is however pledging to offer help on the ground. By this they mean that they want to help Iran and Pakistan to deal with the influx of refugees who manage to make it across the border to those countries. They believe that the situation in Afghanistan itself is too volatile to be able to even know what kind of help they could currently offer there.

The Fluechtlingshilfe organisation also gives regular updates on the situation both in Afghanistan and how Switzerland is helping.

Here are some organisation that are trying to help that you can donate to:

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is one of the main organisations working in Afghanistan. You can donate here.

Tne International Red Cross is also helping.

The International Rescue Committee is also able to offer help to displaced families.

The AFG Diaspora Hub aims to vet smaller organisations to make sure that the money you donate actually goes to an organisation doing real work for Afghans. Here is their list of approved organisations. You can also advertise an event you are planning to run to raise funds for the Afghan people on their website.

For those who specifically want to help women. The Women Regional Network is a great organisation helping women in areas of conflict. They have set up a gofundme page specifically to help women in Afghanistan.

If you want to help locally you can contact Caritas who are always looking for volunteers for their refugee programmes, the Fluechtlingshilfe organisation, the Catholic church which does a lot of work with refugees, Hello Welcome is a centre focusing on helping refugees in Lucerne. SIVO also runs projects at the refugee centres.

Please contact me if you know of trusted organisations or events taking place to help the Afghan people.

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