Forced migration is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history, people have fled their home countries because of war, geopolitics, persecution or economic crises. However, the recent massive exodus of refugees from Afghanistan to Europe, many of whom are vulnerable women, has reached a truly alarming scale, with over 2 million registered refugees from Afghanistan (source: The Operational Data Portal).
While governments must seek a comprehensive political response, the dramatic humanitarian situation also requires the mobilisation of NGOs and local associations, such as ours; and this is what the Soroptimists of Leper have understood!
They partnered with Mothers for Peace to support Afghan women and girls staying in Leper, Belgium. Rather than ‘just giving’ they wished to give opportunities to this vulnerable population who may be going through mental and emotional trauma.
Opportunities came in the form of five laptops and two tablets which the Soroptimists of Leper collected and gave to a group of 21 Afghan refugees (including 13 women and 6 children).
Supplying laptops and tablets will go a long way to ensuring families can keep in contact with their relatives back home and start accessing vital local services that will help them in the resettlement process. Access to technology is also a necessity for refugees to move through life efficiently in a new country. Fundamentally, these devices help ensure that girls’ education is not left behind, as they make it possible for them to remain informed and to access learning online.
“It is fantastic to see how much solidarity there is. They (the female refugees) will have to endure a difficult time, but they draw strength from the warm environment where they can rest for the moment.”
– Jenny Vanlerberghe, Founder of the Belgian chapter of Mothers for Peace
(in the centre of the picture below)
As Soroptimist International of Europe stated, silence and inaction are not an option when it comes to Afghan citizens seeking asylum.
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