Every year on 20th June, we celebrate World Refugee Day. An unprecedented 79.5 million people were displaced across the world as of the end of 2019 - the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has never recorded a higher total.

Refugees are among the most vulnerable people in the world. Not only have they lost the daily security that most of us take for granted, but the loss of a permanent place to call home robs individuals of the capacity to live independent and productive lives.

What is the situation in Afghanistan?

In the last few years, hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees have been forced to leave their homes and return to Afghanistan, moving in to communities already struggling with conflict and poverty. In 2020, at least 300,512 Afghan's have returned from Pakistan and Iran, forced into impoverished conditions, with the number growing since the coronavirus pandemic hit. 

Many of the refugees now returning to Afghanistan were born and raised in the countries they have been forced to leave - it is the only home they've ever known. Coming to live in a new place with little education, limited employable skills and few friends means that the men, women and youth from these families struggle to find job opportunities and suitable places to live, compounding the impoverishment of their families.

How do we help?

Afghanaid has been supporting returning refugee families, as well as those who have been displaced internally due to conflict or natural disasters, to ensure that they successfully integrate into their new communities and establish safe, secure and happy lives.

We provide vocational training, classes in literacy and finance, and support the formation of savings groups, which enable impoverished people to accumulate group savings and access credit for their new enterprises. In the last 3 years, we have also provided specialised reintegration training for over 4,000 men and women to help them settle into their host communities, alongside holding local events to promote understanding in the wider host community, thereby ensuring these families feel welcomed.

These initiatives ensure that returning refugees and displaced people are able to develop the skills, knowledge, and networks they need to generate an income and lift themselves out of poverty, and contribute to the development of their new communities.

This World Refugee Day, join us in celebrating the achievements of all the wonderful people we've been working with.

For instance, 30-year old Shapirai now lives in Logar province with her 6 daughters. Shapirai showed real talent whilst taking part in one of our training courses and has since set up her own home-based tailoring business, which is enabling her to shape a brighter future for her daughters.

I joined Afghanaid’s project and completed 6 months of technical training in food processing and tailoring, 9 months of literacy classes, and received other support through the Savings Group set up by Afghanaid. My life completely changed!

After returning from Pakistan over 4 years ago, Hazratullah struggled to make enough money to feed his family.

Then Hazratullah enrolled in one of our literacy courses and took part in reintegration training. At the same time, his sister joined a savings group alongside one of our tailoring courses.

Using a loan from the savings group, Hazratullah and his sister worked together to set up a shop where, among other things, they sell the clothes she makes. Now the family earns a steady income and they are healthy and happy.

I can now provide good food for my family, send all of my sons and daughters to school, and pay for medication when any member of my family falls ill.

What is the impact of COVID-19?

A large proportion of returning refugees and internally displaced families are forced to live in areas where overcrowding, poor nutrition, and inadequate provision of water, sanitation and hygiene present enormous challenges for preventing the spread of COVID-19. When they are on the move, the outlook is even worse. Their daily challenges are only magnified by the pandemic and for many the situation is becoming desperate.

How can you help?

These men, women and children need immediate, simple but very effective health responses. We are asking you to be a part of this essential response:

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