UW Combined Fund Drive

August 23, 2021

Afghanistan Refugee Crisis: How to Help

After decades of conflict in the region, rapidly escalating violence in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul has forced thousands of civilians to flee – or attempt to flee – for safety.

The political instability, coupled with other humanitarian crises in the country including famine caused by drought, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, has created what many are predicting could become a ‘humanitarian catastrophe.’

Related: Haiti Earthquake: How to Help

Particularly for women and girls, the volatility of the situation has made their current safety and future security highly uncertain. “Since May, nearly 250,000 [Afghani] people have been forced from their homes; 80% of them are women and children,” said Shabia Mantoo, a spokesperson for the U.N. refugee agency.

Anna Pantelia / GMU / Save the Children

Many UWCFD nonprofit organizations have longstanding commitments to the people of Afghanistan and have begun mobilizing their response teams. The need is overwhelming and growing fast. 

Volunteer to help resettled refugees

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is asking for volunteers to help refugees upon arrival with airport pickups, meal assistance, mentorship, tutoring and more. You can participate if you’re in one of the areas where refugees are arriving, and there’s a standby list to join for other areas too. You can also donate.

International Rescue Committee (IRC) has a Facebook donation page for newly arrived families in Washington. They are also holding two information sessions for upcoming volunteer opportunities on Sept. 7 and Sept. 10.

World Relief Seattle is accepting cash donations and gift cards to Target, Safeway, Amazon and Fred Meyer, that can be mailed to: World Relief Seattle 23835 Pacific Highway S. Suite 100, Kent, WA 98032.

Jewish Family Service has complied an Amazon wish list, mostly for home goods for new arrivals. They also accept donations online and are also looking for new car seats for families with young children.

Diocese of Olympia’s Refugee Resettlement Office has a volunteer sign up for volunteers to teach English, mentor youth or manage refugee cases locally. Monetary donations can be made at their website.

Afghan Health Initiative is a nonprofit that addresses health disparities in the Afghan community. They also have a food fund and eviction-prevention program.


Consider making a one-time gift or setting up monthly payroll deduction through the UWCFD to one of our member organizations actively responding to the Afghanistan refugee crisis:

Global Impact (charity code 0316711) is a federation of nonprofit organizations inspiring greater giving to foster critical humanitarian development throughout the world supporting global causes such as disaster response, global health, education and reducing inequalities. Partner organizations include:

  • Action Against Hunger (charity code 0316711) has worked in Afghanistan for two decades, and continuously since 1995, providing a range of lifesaving services while addressing the underlying conditions that give rise to deadly malnutrition and food insecurity
  • CARE (charity code 0315522): Your gift to CARE’s Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund helps us to reach 500,000 vulnerable Afghans with emergency food, health services, shelter, and cross-border support for refugees.
  • International Medical Corps (charity code 1479246) was established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses to address the critical need for medical care in war-torn Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation.
  • Islamic Relief USA: Our work in Afghanistan now is a continuation of 20 years of humanitarian services for families in need in Afghanistan.
  • Save the Children (charity code 0315475): Escalating conflict in Afghanistan poses a dire threat for children. Save the Children remains committed to protecting children not only in Afghanistan but around the world and support the future children deserve – a future free of violence and a life protected from conflict.
  • UNICEF USA (charity code 0315489): For more than 65 years, UNICEF has been working to promote and protect the rights of children and women in Afghanistan.
  • Women for Women International (charity code 0316711) has received a generous matching donation of $500,000 for all contributions made to its Afghanistan program.
  • World Food Program USA (charity code 1483022): WFP has been in Afghanistan for more than 60 years and despite security and logistics challenges, is on the ground working with partners to get food to those most in need.
  • World Vision (charity code 0315561): For the past 20 years, through a range of holistic, integrated humanitarian projects that promote change and improve well-being, World Vision has been serving the children, families, and communities in Afghanistan.

Learn more

A Photographer Gives an Inside Look at the Fall of Kabul (National Geographic)

Here’s how to help new local arrivals fleeing Afghanistan (Seattle Times, August 18 2021)

Afghanistan in Crisis (YouTube – Islamic Relief USA)

In Act Of Compassion And Generosity, Airbnb Will Provide Housing To 20,000 Afghan Refugees (Forbes)