Why we care
In August 2021, as the twenty-year campaign in Afghanistan came to a sudden end, nearly 15,000 people were evacuated from Kabul airport to safety in the United Kingdom.
Alongside the British diplomats and aid workers who boarded flights to the UK were many Afghan nationals evacuated under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP). Some were academics, journalists, scientists, teachers and former British military interpreters, but there was also a small number of Afghan soldiers and their families who risked everything to reach Kabul Airport for the chance to escape the threat of persecution or reprisal as a consequence of their service.
But these were no ordinary Afghan soldiers.
These soldiers were members of an elite unit who took part in the most important and dangerous operations of the campaign. They fought with valour, courage and the utmost professionalism to prevent their beloved homeland from being exploited by terrorist groups intent on launching atrocities against the UK and her allies.
We owe these brave men and their families an enormous debt of gratitude for their contribution to keeping us, the British public, safe and secure. As we welcome them to our home, we have an opportunity we begin repaying this debt, by opening our arms, our hearts and opening doors to a bright new future.
Who we are
We all served in The Parachute Regiment and had the privilege of deploying on operations alongside this incredible group of soldiers who dedicated their lives to service in elite Afghan Forces units.
More importantly, we had the privilege of getting to know them as people, living, sleeping, eating, laughing and, at times, crying alongside them through shared experiences. They taught us about their beautiful homeland, its incredible history and told us stories about their families, their hopes, aspirations and dreams.
This is why we care. This is why we are taking action.
To provide life-long financial support to elite Afghan soldiers and their families to evacuate, settle and thrive in the UK.
That every soldier from elite Afghan Forces units evacuated to the UK should experience the joy of watching their family thrive as independent, valued, and respected members of society.
To raise and distribute £100,000 to support elite Afghan soldiers and their families to evacuate to the UK, then offer bespoke welfare, education, and employment initiatives so that every soldier and family member can become an independent, valued, and respected member of society.
Our strategy aims to address the most pressing needs of the Afghan soldiers and their families first, before pivoting to invest in longer-term support. Our phased approach will support each family to evacuate > settle > thrive in the UK.
1. Evacuate. Firstly, there is still an urgent need to help some soldiers actually leave Afghanistan and reach the UK. These brave men continued to fight the Taliban until the final moments before the surrender was announced. As a result, they did not have time to gather their families and reach Kabul Airport in time to board an evacuation flight.
We will do this by funding bespoke welfare packages to sustain each family's evacuation. For example, we will arrange for funds to be sent to the family to pay for food and transport as they travel to reach a border crossing.
This is especially important for families who were split by the evacuation. There have been several cases where a father was able to reach Kabul Airport and be evacuated, but the journey was too dangerous for his family who had to be left behind without protection or a breadwinner.
2. Settle and 3. Thrive. Once each family reaches the UK, Support Our Afghans will contribute towards their long-term prosperity by providing supplementary, life-long support above and beyond what the UK Government and refugee charities can provide.
By focusing on three core areas; welfare, education and employment, funds raised by Support Our Afghans will contribute towards bespoke initiatives to help each soldier and member of their family to settle, adapt, grow, learn and thrive in the UK. Every initiative will be highly tailored to meet the needs, aspirations and particular circumstances of each individual, making sure that every penny is invested where it is needed most.
We also feel strongly that every initiative that we support must help each soldier or member of their family become more independent, confident and allow them to become proud, influential and respected members of their new community, just as they were in Afghanistan.
As well as managing the careful allocation of donations, Support Our Afghans will also run fundraising events that honour the service and sacrifice that characterised the campaign in Afghanistan. They will be bold, challenging and will aim to bring people and communities together to create shared experiences and life-long memories. Keep an eye on our social media channels for more information and updates on events as they take place.
How you can help today, and tomorrow
We invite you to consider donating whatever you can to help us realise our vision and help these Afghan soldiers and their families thrive in the UK.
Please consider sharing our story and helping raise awareness of our work. Our vision is bold and we plan to provide support long into the future, so every like, share and word passed by mouth will help us raise the funds that can help change lives.
If you have an idea for a fundraising event or would like to help out, please get in touch! We'd love to hear from you.
As our Afghan brothers would say, "Tashakur"....Thank You!
The Support Our Afghans Team