Guidance for Donors Wanting to Help Those Trapped in Afghanistan
As the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated in the last week, many Americans are looking for ways to help—but they want to know which ministries are equipped to help those left on the ground and suffering in Afghanistan.
Michael Martin, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), encourages donors who want to be good stewards to support organizations that have proven track records.
“Organizations should demonstrate commitment to healthy financial accountability practices such as independent audits, appropriate transparency, truthfulness in fundraising, and honoring giver expectations and intent,” Martin said.
ECFA’s tool GiverConnect helps identify ministries “engaged in the imminent relief efforts in Afghanistan and the Middle East (plus hundreds of other causes) and are committed to upholding financial stewardship standards,” Martin said. Donations made through GiverConnect go directly to the ministries listed.
MinistryWatch reached out to some of the largest humanitarian relief organizations about how donors to their organizations can have an impact in Afghanistan. All are members in good standing with the ECFA.
World Help said it is working directly with national partners in Afghanistan that have been working in the region for more than a decade. Currently, its top priority is to provide twice-a-day distributions of “emergency food and clean water to displaced people who are sleeping out in the open or in temporary shelters” and also to provide blankets and baby items to those in need.
World Help is seeking financial contributions to purchase food, water, and other basic necessities in the country to be distributed as quickly as possible. “Every $35 donated provides a week’s worth of emergency food and clean water to one person fleeing the Taliban,” the website says. “A $140 gift is enough to feed a family of four for a week.”
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Help the Persecuted does not operate directly in Afghanistan, but has team members in nearby countries who have been in contact with pastors and Christians inside Afghanistan and are identifying families and individuals who need help. They say the situation on the ground matches what is being seen on the news—chaos.
According to the group, it has “monies ready to send into the country once funds can be sent in to help with crisis needs like evacuation transportation and critical support. And then funds available to help families that flee with housing, living expenses, medical expenses, etc.”
With the situation still unsettled, Help the Persecuted is also considering whether it would be appropriate to establish longer-term safe housing options in nearby countries.
Help the Persecuted leaders recently “spoke with a number of Afghan Bible College students and their families (all sheltering in place) to discuss plans for support when we can get the money in.”
The ministry says its main needs are prayer and financial support. Donors can expect their donations to go to evacuation transportation, critical relief, temporary housing, living expenses and medical assistance, and potentially larger scale housing.
World Vision has been working to provide emergency relief operations in Afghanistan since 2001. Over those 20 years, its efforts have expanded to include “health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection and education, and empowering women to engage in civil and social change through community-based structures.”
The situation on the ground, according to World Vision, is worsening, with families hiding or fleeing and almost half the population (18.4 million) in need of humanitarian assistance. The current crisis is exacerbating an already troubling situation in the country, and 500,000 people are expected to flee across provinces within the country in the coming months.
While World Vision does not have a specific Afghanistan fund, donors can give to the Disaster Relief Fund that will be used to respond to the immediate needs in Afghanistan, including clean water, food, emergency supplies, hygiene and cooking kits, and emergency health services.
World Relief, a refugee resettlement ministry, is actively working to bring aid and assistance to those suffering in Afghanistan. Some of those in greatest danger under the Taliban’s control are Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) pending and currently “trapped in Kabul facing violence and persecution” because of their association with the United States.
It encourages Americans to advocate with their elected officials on behalf of the trapped Afghans to “do everything in their power to evacuate as many as possible” and then resettle the Afghan refugees.
Those interested can volunteer with World Relief to help Afghan refugee families who have already been evacuated settle in the United States. Most of the refugees are arriving in Sacramento, Modesto, Seattle and Spokane, and the DC metro area where World Relief needs ongoing support to help the refugees when they arrive and “hire specialized staff with trauma counseling and mental health experience to support the refugees once they’re here.”
According to its spokesperson, donations to World Relief will go to “help support World Relief’s efforts to safely resettle refugees from Afghanistan and advocate for policies that promote religious freedom and protection for Christians in Afghanistan.”
In addition, World Relief asks for prayers “for peace and for the protection of those in Afghanistan whose lives are in immediate danger, and for a compassionate response to the needs of Afghan refugees.”
Neither Compassion International nor Samaritan’s Purse is currently working in response to the situation in Afghanistan.
“But at this time, we do not have plans to deploy a response team in light of other emergency responses underway,” a spokesperson for Samaritan’s Purse told Ministry Watch.