Every person deserves to live a life of certainty, safety and Happiness. Unfortunately, it has become an unaffordable privilege for many, amongst whom are our Afghan Friends too. They have endured more than 40 years of conflict, natural disasters, economic and pandemic crisis and most recently the takeover by Taliban, which has forced them to leave their professions, their Education, their cities and even their homeland for the safety of their lives.
Amidst U.S. and NATO forces withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Taliban takeover in August 2021, a new cycle of displacement instigated in the region. According to the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), a sizeable number of Afghan refugees have crossed into Pakistan. Between January 2021 and February 2022, UNHCR has documented 117,547 new arrivals from Afghanistan in Pakistan, with a significant peak of 35,289 persons in August 2021.
Women and children have been especially vulnerable in this chaotic situation and scared for their lives and safety even after fleeing.
In situations like these, Alight has always been at the front to welcome, to comfort, to protect and to provide their support and services in every sector. We are determined to help the Afghan people in their time of need. We have two decades of experience working with Afghan refugees in Pakistan and we take a holistic approach to care: not only providing emergency relief but delivering long-term support to enable every displaced and marginalized person to rebuild their life and make the most of it.
Alight Pakistan has expanded its operations to serve Afghan refugees. After August 15th, 2021. We are currently accommodating 28 families – a total of 100 Afghans (most of them are women and children under the age of 10). These families are lodging in fully furnished apartments, in the safest area, with all the basic necessities provided. The facility is located near the market area with a hospital at a walking distance.
We have arranged a small office for Alight’s staff to be present there at the facility for most of the day to manage day-to-day business. Two rooms are designated for a library for the kids, a computer lab, and another spacious room designed for major events and training sessions.
These Afghan families have access to in-person and online learning to support independency. The majority of the trainings are delivered in-person. However, some of the courses and course-modules are delivered online. All the trainers are experienced and certified. The lectures are delivered in Dari and Pashto
Other training sessions include an introduction to Social media, ethics and marketing, personal branding for online promotion, an advanced English language course, computer skills, web designing, and a few others.
Alight has prepared education modules for children above the age of 10 with age-appropriate content and for adults advanced and more technical, internationally-certified courses take place in a dedicated training space – that is equipped with computers – a number of training institutes in the center of Islamabad are available and can accommodate 35-40 training participants.
Additionally, Psycho-social training and counseling sessions take place once a week (Saturdays) over the course of 6 hours and it is anticipated that they will be a mix of personal therapy (for those suffering from acute trauma and distress, such as the families caught up in the bombing at Kabul airport) to larger, group therapy/counseling sessions designed to resolve conflict and promote wellbeing and a learning mindset. They may need to be gender-segregated. We intend to be as responsive as possible to their individual needs.
We are determined to stick up for the Afghan people who have suffered so much over the past few decades. We will be there for Afghan children to give them a sense of stability, and the care and attention they need. Moreover, we welcome anyone who shares our goals to join in our mission. We shall not abandon the Afghans!