Over the past few days, as the terrible scenes have been broadcast from Afghanistan, friends have been asking how they can help Afghan refugees in Edinburgh. It has become clear that we are facing another refugee crisis. The UK government has signalled an intention to accommodate 20,000 Afghan refugees in the UK, and my local authority, the City of Edinburgh Council has offered to accommodate Afghan refugees in a similar way to how they did Syrians during the conflict there, while calling for the UK government to accept more refugees.
In response to questions from friends about how they can help Afghan refugees in Edinburgh as the city and surrounding area prepares for new arrivals, I have prepared the following information on three ways you can help refugees arriving in Edinburgh.
1. Support the work of these local charities to help Afghan refugees in Edinburgh:
I am a Director with Multi-Cultural Family Base, who work with children and families from Black, Asian and Minority Ethic backgrounds in Edinburgh and who have built up a broad experience of working with refugees over 23 years. They work closely with schools, the Council and other agencies to help support new arrivals and families who are longer established in the capital.
Other local organisations working with BAME communities and who will be considering how to support Afghan refugees are:
SACRO/Aditi – providing wellbeing support for BAME women
Intercultural Youth Scotland – supporting young people from BAME backgrounds
ELREC – working to eliminate inequality and discrimination
Edinburgh Central Mosque – has seen a 75% reduction in donations during COVID and will be supporting new congregation members
If you know of others, please add them in the comments.
Glasgow has typically received more refugees and asylum seekers than Edinburgh and the main organisation working with refugees in Scotland – Scottish Refugee Council, is based in Glasgow. The Chief Executive, Sabir Zazai, is Afghani , meaning this organisation has a real understanding of the situation of the situation of new refugees who are arriving.
2. Donate unwanted items to organisations supporting refugees
You can provide unwanted clothes, furniture, toys and other items to be distributed to refugees through the following initiatives and organisations:
Welcome packs for refugee kids in Edinburgh – is already collecting school bags and toys for kids, ahead of information on the profile of families coming to Edinburgh.
Muslim Welfare House/Dar al-Arqam, Edinburgh – is collecting donations of good quality men’s clothes, shoes and clothes suitable for Muslim women and girls for refugees. They can be dropped off at prayer time (1:30pm, 5pm and 8:20pm) at 59 Lauriston Place, EH3 9HY. (UPDATE 13/9/21: apparently Dar al-Arquam has been inundated and is no longer accepting donations. Please check social media for updates.)
Re-Act – is the main local org collecting donations of stuff for refugees locally and also for sending donations to points where refugees were in large numbers, eg Greek camps and Calais.
3. Offer practical help to Afghan refugees in Edinburgh
Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts – will feed anyone in Edinburgh, no questions asked. If you know someone who needs it, send them to EKFH!
McGlashan MacKay – are immigration lawyers who will help clients access legal aid to challenge the inhumanities of the system. They are based in Glasgow, but after an initial consultation can work by phone/email.
Hopefully that list is useful. If you know of other ways in which people can help Afghan refugees in Edinburgh, add them in the comments.