Afghan children emergency response

REUK are responding urgently to the situation in Afghanistan

We are responding urgently to the new and precarious situation in Afghanistan. Over the years, we have worked closely with hundreds of Afghan children and young people in the UK, as well as in Afghanistan itself, and are mobilising quickly and carefully to their unique needs. 

Thank you to all those have been in touch to ask how you can respond practically to support those impacted by events in Afghanistan.

Briefing: supporting young Afghan's education and wellbeing: 

Young refugees are no different to other children, and make invaluable contributions to our society. We all deserve the opportunity to pursue our dreams. This World Refugee Day, we all need to protect the rights of young refugees. This World Refugee Day, we all need to be kind; because together, we make better worlds.

You can read the letter on the Unicef website, here:

The featured picture in this post is courtesy of Unicef and entitled 'Unity is Strength' and was drawn by 12-year old Kaninica from India

Priority 1: Meaningful access to education for newly arrived Afghan children and young people at all levels must be a core focus of the resettlement scheme.

REUK is pleased to publish this report, which highlights key urgent policy priorities for supporting the education and wellbeing of young Afghans in light on the ongoing resettlement of Afghan children and young people to the UK.

Policy recommendations are made for the Home Office, the Department for Education, education institutions, voluntary sector organisations and funders.

​​Priority 2: Young Afghan refugees and asylum seekers already in the UK must not be overlooked, and supporting their psychosocial wellbeing is critical.

Priority 3: Young Afghan care-leavers returned to Kabul in recent years must be counted among the top and urgent priorities for the UK government’s resettlement schemes.

They are facing significant anxiety and concern about the lives of their family in Afghanistan, and uncertainty about their futures. This is compounding existing mental health conditions which have already been exacerbated by COVID-19. Afghan young people must be supported to access psychosocial support services at this difficult time. They must be granted immediate refugee status regardless of previous decisions, and rules should be changed so that their parents and siblings are eligible for family reunion.

Education is protective; it is how these children will begin to rebuild their lives and look towards their futures. Refugee children and their families must have access to clear information about the UK education system. Educational settings must be adequately resourced and supported to provide a welcoming, nurturing and safe environment for these children to thrive.

Their status as a forced returnee is posing a risk to their lives, and their access to resettlement must be prioritised as part of the UK resettlement scheme this year.

Please join our emergency efforts to support as many Afghan children and young people as we possibly can.

2) Providing practical, emotional and psychosocial support to the dozens of Afghan children and young people we are currently working with and who we have supported in the past

Dozens of young people are getting in touch in great distress and our trained support staff are doing everything they can to be with them at this time and help them navigate this challenging situation.

REUK has a long-standing and deep relationship with Afghan young people both in the UK and in Afghanistan. Please join us as we respond with love and determination to support them during this emergency.

In response to this urgent situation REUK are: 

1) Ensuring that every child and young person arriving from Afghanistan is given information and resources to thrive in the UK.

We are producing a welcome pack for newly-arrived young Afghans which explains in Pashto and Dari how they can access the education and wellbeing services they so desperately need. 

As the resettlement situation becomes clearer we will provide schools and colleges with bespoke training to understand the unique challenges that young Afghan refugees are facing. We are also looking to set up additional mentoring hubs around the country so that young Afghans can be matched with dedicated volunteer mentors to walk alongside them at this incredibly difficult time.

Afghanistan and REUK

Young refugees are no different to other children, and make invaluable contributions to our society. We all deserve the opportunity to pursue our dreams. This World Refugee Day, we all need to protect the rights of young refugees. This World Refugee Day, we all need to be kind; because together, we make better worlds.

You can read the letter on the Unicef website, here:

The featured picture in this post is courtesy of Unicef and entitled 'Unity is Strength' and was drawn by 12-year old Kaninica from India

Since REUK set up 10 years ago we have worked with hundreds of young Afghans, many of whom have been deeply involved in who we are as an organisation. Beyond our programmes, Afghan young people have sat on and chaired our Youth Advisory Board, represented us at conferences and spoken passionately about our collective work. We feel their pain right now and are praying and doing everything we can to help them and their families. We also fear and pray for every young person returned to Afghanistan in the past few years. 

Now is not the time to ask them to comment on the situation or to expain to our supporters and friends what needs to happen next. Instead we encourage you to read the stories they have written in the past and to understand the journey they have been on so far.  

How to support Afghan children and young people at this crucial time:

Young refugees are no different to other children, and make invaluable contributions to our society. We all deserve the opportunity to pursue our dreams. This World Refugee Day, we all need to protect the rights of young refugees. This World Refugee Day, we all need to be kind; because together, we make better worlds.

You can read the letter on the Unicef website, here:

The featured picture in this post is courtesy of Unicef and entitled 'Unity is Strength' and was drawn by 12-year old Kaninica from India

3) Join us in calling on the government to:

 

  • Abandon the 'resettlement-only plans' set out in the Nationality and Borders Bill

  • Grant immediate asylum to Afghans already waiting for status in the UK 

  • Release all Afghan nationals from detention

  • Expand the family reuinion route so that Afghans can be joined by other members of their family

  • Join the international effort to evacuate and resettle Afghan nationals 

These recommendations are based on a letter we signed with over 100 other organisations to the Home Secretary. You can read it here.  

1) Make a donation to our emergency response by clicking this link.

2) Sign up to our newsletter to follow our support updates including useful links for those working directly with young Afghans. If appropriate we'll also share some words from the many young Afghans at the heart of REUK who want to be vocal about the situation.