We can help bring a handful of families here to New Zealand to reunite with their Afghan-Kiwi partners already here. Let's get them safe.
Kabul has fallen. The situation in Afghanistan is dire. In these last few weeks, as a journalist, I have been haunted by the image of what the lives of women and girls will become under the Taliban again.
Help them now. As Kiwis, we can still make an important and very specific difference. We can help bring a handful of families here to New Zealand to reunite with their Afghan-Kiwi husbands and fathers already here.
There are at least three families waiting (my hope is to fund more) whose father or husband has already been granted asylum and are living in New Zealand. Often, these folks have to wait years to be offered family reunification visas for their wives and children to join them.
Unfortunately, while navigating the difficulties of establishing themselves in New Zealand, these refugees have to find a way to shoulder the cost of bringing their loved ones here too. Often, that's a cost that may feel unsurmountable, especially when struggling to find work, learn English, send money back home to support them-- all while somehow finding a way to save thousands of dollars for airfares before the families' two-year visa window closes.
That's how we can help. We can fund these airfares and transport costs now to get them to New Zealand as quickly as possible.
As of this writing, we are hoping to bring three women, three girls and four boys to New Zealand, amongst three families. Hopefully, if we're successful, we will certainly include others in our appeal for funds too--and would be only too delighted to extend this goal.
Update: Evening of August 16, 2021. Commercial flights are suspended and unlikely to resume in the near future. The families will have to consider fleeing across the border, if possible, and trying to find their way out via a neighboring country, with the help of IOM. Wish them luck.
Donate here and the funds will go directly to the Auckland Refugee Family Trust. I have asked the good folks at ARFT to earmark this money for Afghan families as an emergency measure, with priority given to women and girls, if possible. (You are most welcome to find out more about their organisation too, at https://arft.org.nz).
I am not affiliated with Auckland Refugee Family Trust, but have admired their good work for years. I am a former board member of the New Zealand Refugee Council, the Asylum Seeker Support Trust and creator of WagePeaceNZ. - Tracey Barnett
WONDERFUL NEWS! 2 September 2021
Such marvellous news to report: All three families are now safely in New Zealand!
They were the lucky ones. They made the NZ Defence Force flights and managed to get out by the September 1st deadline. They will be able to rebuild new lives here in New Zealand, as our very newest New Zealanders. Haere Mai--and Kia Kaha to the new challenges ahead.
For others who may now be able to access these donations, it is still a huge unknown at this point. Will the Taliban allow Qatar Airlines or others to maintain commercial flights in a bid not to cut themselves off from commercial travel? It's very possible. Who will be able to access them? And if not, will overland borders remain open to those Afghan-Kiwis who want to flee to surrounding countries to attempt to access flights to NZ, that is, if they can successfully get there--and still have funds to buy tickets?
Even though this may not make this week's news cycle, the challenges--especially for professional Afghan women and their daughters--is still crucial and immediate. Unfortunately, even when NZ grants a family reunification visa to reunite with a loved one here, their commercial airfares are not paid for by our government. Often, this is an unsurmountable hurdle. The family have often spent all or most of their funds to get the first family member out to safety, leaving the split family on both sides of the ocean struggling just to survive, let alone raise the kind of capital it takes to save for multiple, expensive, international airfares for their wife and children.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this emergency injection of cash to the Auckland Refugee Family Trust. They have much work still ahead of them.
Your immediate help will transform lives. It really is that simple. This weekend, when you are feeling warm, dry and safe-- I can't help but repeat the mantra--with these riches come responsibility. And you stepped up. Keep giving your next week's lunch or coffee money, if you can.
You are damned fine humans.
Afghanistan: 375 New Zealanders, visa holders stranded as Government considers 'second phase' of evacuation effort (Stuff, August 31, 2021):