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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Charities working to support women and children amid the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan


By Sarah Finnan
17th Aug 2021

Photo via Unicef

Charities working to support women and children amid the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan

As the situation continues to worsen over in Afghanistan, here is a list of organisations you can donate to and support.

The news has been very grim as of late but as hard as it has been to watch the turmoil over in Afghanistan, it’s important to keep abreast of the situation. Countless charities and organisations have been working on the ground to help support local women and children amid the crisis, but funds are running low and donations are always welcome. 

What is happening in Afghanistan? 

It’s a very broad question and one that deserves a detailed answer, but in short, the country is currently being taken over by the Taliban – a fundamentalist group that ruled the nation for five years before US forces expelled them in 2001. President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country and Taliban forces entered the capital of Kabul over the weekend. 

Thousands of locals are desperately trying to leave the country, many of whom have already been internally displaced. 

What does this mean for women and children?

While the Taliban’s return to power will have detrimental effects for Afghanistan as a whole, women and children remain the most vulnerable to their wrath. Standing to lose all of the hard-won gains they’ve worked so hard to achieve over the past few years, their lives are also very much in danger. In fact, according to a recent UN report, civilian deaths have risen by almost 50% since the start of 2021 compared with the first half of 2021, with record numbers of women and children killed and injured in Afghanistan.

What is Ireland doing to help? 

Officials from three different departments met on Monday afternoon to discuss the situation with government later confirming that Ireland will accept close to 200 refugees from Afghanistan. 

45 visas have already been approved for Afghan refugees in recent days with government to provide a further 150 more in light of the situation. According to government, the hope is to expand the programme to welcome even more Afghan refugees if capacity can be found.

The Irish Times reports that government is also examining the possibility of putting a community sponsorship programme in place which would involve local groups providing supports to refugees (e.g. housing and helping them access different state services). 

Commenting on the situation over in Afghanistan at the moment, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that “Ireland will participate fully” in facilitating refugees and helping to provide humanitarian aid to those still on the ground. 

What are some charities/organisations to donate to? 

It can all feel a bit helpless just watching things unfold from over here with no idea of how to go about helping. But if you are in a position to do so, donating to one of these charities is one way of showing your support to the countless women and children who have been affected by the ongoing turmoil over in Afghanistan. 

Below is a list of charities and organisations that are working to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

  • Unicef – working to promote/protect the rights of children and women in Afghanistan
  • United Nations Refugee Agency – providing lifesaving assistance along with food, shelter, hygiene and sanitary kits 
  • Visions4Children – a German organisation assisting with emergency aid in Afghanistan
  • Doctors Without Borders – the Afghan branch of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), providing medical assistance to those in need
  • International Committee of the Red Cross – working with its partner the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) to evacuate the wounded and transport the dead back to their families
  • Mercy Corps – working to provide clean water and sanitation supplies
  • World Food Programme – working to provide emergency food supplies to vulnerable groups
  • Concern – has been working in the country for 23 years to respond to emergency situations and build community resilience to climate change and ongoing conflict
  • Save the Children – working to protect Afghan children and ensure they can grow up healthy, educated and safe

Female-led media to support

Mainstream Afghan media coverage is largely male-led which means that issues pertaining to women and children rarely make the cut. However, Rukshana Media is one outlet that continually works to ensure women are represented.

Recognising the need for news from a female perspective, journalist Zahra Joya set up Rukshana Media to report exclusively on issues that affect Afghan women – from the taboo of menstruation, child marriage, street harassment and economic hardship to violence and gender discimination and what it means to live as a survivor of rape. So named after the woman that was stoned to death by the Taliban in 2015, the organisation was originally funded by Zahra alone but that’s no longer feasible and donations are now need to help it continue running. You can find out more about Rukshana Media and donate to support them here.

Sahar Speaks is another media organisation that aims to promote the work of female reporters/writers/photographers/camera operators/TV producers in foreign news outlets. Partnered with Afghan Agencies and The Huffington Post, it helps to provide more training and opportunities for female journalists in the country with donations going to making that become a reality.