It was a lovely spring evening in 2021 I took my dogs for a walk, and as we approached a local hotel, We noticed a lot of activity, more than normal, there were a lot of families from other countries, they were sitting in what looked like family groups on the field outside the hotel they looked worried, scared & uncomfortable. We made some inquiries at the hotel & discovered that the families were refugees from Afghanistan, I thought to myself & discussed with my foster parents how we could help. As we all know the Afghanistan war was an international conflict that started in 2001 and was triggered by the horrific 9/11 attacks. In 2021 the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul caused displacement throughout the country. A political decision was made to pull the British Army out of Afghanistan. It left a wake of people homeless in a war-torn country.
This is what happened during the following weeks
Imagine arriving in a country where everything is strange you don’t speak the language, the food is something you had never tasted before and the way of life was very different to what you are used to.
The families had to leave their country with one small bag per person. I decided help was needed, as a community we needed to do something on a large scale. I started by going through my toys, games & books and took them to the families they were very grateful. I reached out to family and friends & soon help came pouring in, clothes, toys, bikes, food, the donations were endless. We were helping.
We became close to one of the families a mum & three daughters, the father had been killed in Kabul. The mum worked as a translator for the British Army on the front line. Two of the daughters were secondary school age, we invited the family to our home for dinner. I spent some time explaining what they should expect from a secondary school it was very different to what they were used to.
I helped organize some games of football & rugby with all the children they thought it was brilliant & everyone joined in. One evening we were all sitting chatting and the Mum received a video call from her friend who was still in Afghanistan, in the background you could hear bombs & gunfire how terrifying is that?
Fortunately for the family, we got to know them well were found a house 30 miles away which was great for them. However, how can it be fair that two years later there are still families living In the hotel, we are all aware in our local area there are many houses that are empty and nationally there are more job vacancies than two years ago? Many of these people have skills that would benefit our economy and help them to begin rebuilding their lives. Despite the help of local people, the nearest shop and bus stop is 3 miles away as far as I’m aware all of the children are now in education yet their school friends are all living a fair distance away meaning that building strong friendships are difficult to build outside of school. Whenever we are out we always say hello & do our best to support them.
Perhaps anyone reading this will find it in their hearts to offer help and support for refugees living in your area because I can guarantee if you look hard enough they will be there needing help & your friendship.