After one year, the work in central Asia with Afghan refugees continues, through our Tying Vines project, WalkWithMe.global. In recent months persecution has increased and refugees are being detained and returned to Afghanistan. The UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) is strongly protesting these actions. Elizabeth Tan, Director of International Protection at UNHCR stated, “They must stop detaining and deporting refugees, an action that clearly puts lives at risk. Forced return of refugees is against the law and runs contrary to the principle of non-refoulment, a cornerstone of international refugee law.”
The Afghan Community Coordinator in Central Asia, who was put in place last year, reports that not only will these people who are being forced to return be in danger but also, they will face severe food shortages and hunger. Many in the Afghan Refugee Community are staying home and hiding to avoid being caught and deported. As a result, they are not able to go to work and therefore are relying more heavily on the Tying Vines food assistance program. A situation that was already difficult and scary is now worse. The coordinator distributes a family food package to ten families every month and since launching this program last year he has provided food to over 120 families. “In feeding the hungry we are fulfilling Christ’s command and demonstrating His love to the people.”
In addition to the Tying Vines Food Distribution, business skills training is being provided to the Afghan Refugee community. A well-known pastor and business trainer from the area led a soft skills training program to 40 Afghan youth at a camp in June. It was exciting to hear one of the students share that they were inspired to start an Afghan Cultural Center that would reach the needs of the Afghan Community in their area. Also scheduled in the future is more business training for an additional 80 Afghans. This program is being provided by one of our partners and is bringing hope to those that feel isolated and powerless to change their circumstances.
The Christian community is also providing counseling, health, and educational training courses. Women are also being taught to make products that can potentially be sold in the Work of Worth-Tying Vines marketplace platform.
We also have updates from other Afghan Refugee Assistance Projects in the region. An Afghan Refugee Community is being helped with the investment in several business ventures so that they can provide a livelihood for themselves. These include farming and other skills training and workshops. This development and support is essential in helping create sustainability on an ongoing basis. Several families are being supported through this.
*Tying Vines recently learned that the deportations have temporarily stopped. Please keep the situation in your prayers. It is still very unstable and frightening to those who have already experienced so much heartbreak and devastation.*
Thank you for your prayers and donations. None of the work being done would be possible without your help.