By Michelle Downey
Almost a year ago I asked myself – how can I watch the women in Afghanistan suffer just because they are women?
A year later, I am part of an Afghan sponsorship team in Campbell River where we are working to help a family of 17 close knit Afghan family members, full of women and small children suffering under a Taliban regime, come to our welcoming community. This family has a long history of working with the Canadian and American armed forces. Their brother was an interpreter who thankfully escaped to the USA with his family after being shot. Their father was killed by the Taliban last July and their entire family is in constant danger of being attacked and killed by the unending Taliban tortuous behaviour.
The family we are working to help include a young man who has become head of the family after his father was killed. He is working desperately to escape danger by moving frequently, while trying to secure passports and visas, while trying to find food and shelter, knowing his pregnant wife will need a safe place to give birth in a few short months. His young teenage sister is now in his care, along with her teenage brother and his widowed mother. Is he worried how he will continue to keep them safe as he searches for safe passage to Pakistan with so many unknowns that come with that escape? The Taliban death threat letters are proof that he needs to keep his sister safe as they threaten to take her to marry one of their men.
His other young sisters are also vulnerable and in danger, as one had their husband, a businessman selling goods to Canadian Forces, escape to Pakistan rather than be murdered, the other only 21 years old, pregnant and with a young husband and child. This family is one that is close knit and wants to stay together.
The Aman Lara group in Canada has been formed to help Afghan people escape to safety. They have Canadian veterans that served in Afghanistan working intel to help thousands of Afghan people escape to Pakistan. We are thankful that they have been helping us very willingly and their hands-on approach is amazing.
What we need to help our family seek safety in another country such as Pakistan or Tajikistan initially and then in our community of Campbell River are the funds to sponsor them and help them with food and shelter while in refuge. We will be starting to fundraise the amount of $45,000 which fulfills the rest of our commitment to Mennonite Central refugee sponsorship agreement.
Our first upcoming event is a by-donation community garage sale at the Christian Life Fellowship Church parking lot in Campbell River June 25 at 8 a.m. We are seeking donations to help make this a successful fundraiser.
If you would like to contribute to our sponsorship, your donation is fully tax receiptable. If you go online to CLF church website in Campbell River, go to the giving tab, click on Afghan refugee giving and it is easy and quick to make a donation of your choice.
We welcome questions and additions to our sponsor team! Contact Michelle Downey at email@example.com or 250-830-8262 if you have any questions.