It’s often hard to believe that any of us can make a difference… but individuals, working together as a group, certainly can. I’ve seen it with my own eyes in recent months and I want to thank you for everything you do to help Asylum Welcome in our work.
It is an exceptional time. Over the last year, the need for emergency support rose sharply, with many more cases of hardship and destitution. The pandemic continues to have a profound and ongoing impact on our clients’ lives. Meanwhile, we are now supporting more than 160 newly-arrived Afghan families and individuals staying in Oxfordshire, many of whom arrived with no possessions or money and sometimes with no hope that they would see their loved ones again.
This enhanced and intensive work means that Asylum Welcome is incurring significant additional costs and requiring extra resources. We are asking for your help this Christmas to ensure we can continue our crucial work. If you can help at this critical time, then please click here.
“I was an accountant in the Middle East before I came to the UK. I recently completed my studies here, and whilst I volunteered with Asylum Welcome I became Service Deputy Manager supporting the Afghans staying in hotels in Oxfordshire. The Afghan crisis resulted in an exodus of epic proportions. As we saw on our TV screens back in August, those who could make it to the airport were fleeing for their lives.” Malihe
And right now we’re also seeing the pent-up demand for help from our existing clients. People are coming to us with far more complex needs that have built up over time. And we’re seeing a growing demand for our food bank – during 2020-21, there was a 147% increase in the number of people supported each week by our food bank, including many more children and families. All deliveries are made by volunteer drivers from our Oxford office.
In the last six months our Adult and Family Advice Service alone has seen an increase in clients of over 40% compared to last year.
More help with housing, processing asylum claims, getting legal advice and medical help – all these areas have seen a rise in demand at the same time as we’ve mobilised our response to the Afghan crisis.
Sometimes, though, we experience something remarkable that brings joy to our hearts – and I want to share one such story with you today…
Mohammad recently arrived, having been evacuated with his family in the emergency airlift. The family had visited Afghanistan two years ago but had become stuck there due to Covid. Then, the Taliban took over. Amazingly, Mohammad had previously been supported by Asylum Welcome, having arrived in the UK in 2009 as an unaccompanied minor. When Mohammad and his family arrived after the recent evacuation they were put in an airport quarantine hotel for 18 days and then put on a bus in the dark. Mohammad heard that the bus was on its way to Oxford. As they got off the bus, they were greeted by Asylum Welcome.
“I was so relieved. I then knew I was safe and I could talk to people I can trust. It is incredible to think that Asylum Welcome helped me in the past and can help me and my family now when we are so unsure about our future.” Mohammad
Mohammad’s story is special… most of the Afghan people we are helping have never been to the UK before. They have faced traumatic upheaval – uprootedness, dislocation, a fear for their safety and a sense of dread as to what the future might hold. These feelings are common among all the people that we support.
We have assembled a sizeable team of staff and volunteers to coordinate our Afghan response – providing wraparound support seven days a week. It’s a huge stretch to sustain work at this scale and intensity, even more so when no one knows how long it will continue. Meanwhile, we continue to provide crucial support to over 1,300 refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants each year.
We are asking for your support today. Can you help our clients over the winter months? Any donation you can make will go towards supporting clients with essential needs including food, rent, transport costs, and warm clothing. Please make a donation of £20, £50, or whatever you can afford by clicking here.
I hope you’ll feel able to make a special donation this winter here. It will make all the difference.
We are so grateful to you. Together, we can help to change the world.
With warmest wishes for Christmas and the New year,
Service Deputy Manager, Afghan Resettlement Service Scheme, Asylum Welcome
PS: As well as the pictures and reflections from Little Amal’s wonderful visit to Oxford in October that you can see and read below, I’ve also enclosed a message slip for you to write a message of welcome and support to the many Afghans that are staying in Oxfordshire. If you can take a minute to send back your own personal message of support to our Afghan guests by clicking here, I can promise you that they will greatly appreciate this. Thank you.
Please note that we have been required to impose a £15 minimum donation rule through this donation method for security reasons. To donate amounts under £15 please click here.
Little Amal’s visit to Oxford was unforgettable for the thousands who saw her that day…
You might have seen Little Amal on TV, social media or in the newspaper. The 3.5-metre-tall puppet named Amal – a name meaning “hope” in Arabic – came to Oxford at the end of October. Little Amal has been on a remarkable journey, making visible those who are most often invisible along her way… with so much beauty, dignity and hope for a more welcoming, better and kinder future.
If you would like to send a message of support to the Afghan families we are supporting at the hotels please click here. You can print and post these to us or simply send them to us electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warmest wishes to you and your loved ones during the festive season, from everyone at Asylum Welcome.