Afghan refugee ‘Ali’ stepped off a plane at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport last week with nothing but his passport and the clothes he was wearing.
‘Ali’, not his real name, fled his homeland because as a former interpreter with Australia’s military and diplomatic mission in Afghanistan he faced potential harm from the new Taliban regime.
He is one of tens of thousands of Afghans recently evacuated from Kabul under dramatic circumstances.
The images of desperate Afghans trying to flee their country through Kabul’s international airport sparked an international outcry.
More than 20,000 people have already left Afghanistan, seeking sanctuary overseas, and the UN refugee agency UNHCR says that up to half a million Afghans could flee their homeland by the end of the year.
As some of these Afghans begin to arrive in Australia, AMES is stepping up to support them.
In its role as a Humanitarian Settlement Program provider, AMES is welcoming the refugees and initially providing them with accommodation and other necessities.
Many of the people arriving are suffering health and mental health issues and are receiving specialist care.
As they come out of quarantine, the evacuees will need ongoing support. AMES Australia will be walking beside them as they pick up the pieces of their lives and begin to establish themselves in a new country.
AMES is supporting the refugees through the quarantine process; and we are helping them to find their feet in the community.
We will be supporting them to find permanent housing, to get their children into schools, to orientate themselves to a new society, to access health care and government services, to connect with language tuition and education services and ultimately, once they are settled, to find employment.
But there are ways in which community members and organisations can help with this work.
The best way to help is to make a financial donation through AMES Australia’s People in Need Fund on https://www.ames.net.au/about/make-a-donation or via AMES Australia GIVIT fund on https://www.givit.org.au/whats-needed/fund-whats-needed/e737fbde-2b7d-4b7e-be2b-5d34c2a86aa5?appeal=219&fbclid=IwAR20WTY21h4adYwslR64XyV1hmILQSopOm_nYNnGw9RyVsBIXlqMCC4er7E
Update: The Government has announced an extension to subclass 449 visas for Afghan evacuees until 30 November 2022. For more information see https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-and-support/afghanistan-update