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Supporting Afghan refugees in Australia

08 September 2021, Impact of Our Work

As families arrive in fear and shock, we’re here to help

As families raced to leave Afghanistan before the Taliban takeover, many left with nothing. With just the clothes they were wearing and visas that promised a better future, they boarded flights from Kabul. As the planes departed, mothers and fathers would have felt an equal measure of sadness and relief. Here was a chance to escape conflict, to be welcomed into countries they could call their own for themselves and their children. Here too, was leaving the country they loved, with dear family and friends left behind.
Some of these families are now quarantining in Howard Springs in the Northern Territory, as they wait to start their new lives in Australia. These families will be carrying with them the scars of conflict and their hastened exit.
“These families have fled in traumatic circumstances,” says Save the Children’s Deputy CEO Mat Tinkler. “The level of anxiety, fear and desperation they would have felt while evacuating will reverberate as they settle in their new homes in Australia.”
Our priority will be supporting the parents and children with psychosocial support. The harsh living conditions in Afghanistan, their hasty exit, isolation during quarantine will all have a marked effect on the mental health of both the parents and children.

Mat Tinkler - Deputy CEO, Save the Children.

“Even as they seek to rebuild their lives here, language barriers, lack of employment and adequate housing, or insufficient community connection can worsen mental health outcomes.”

How we’re supporting families in quarantine

As the families spend their first 14 days in quarantine, Save the Children has sent activity packs for the families. 200 of the packs will arrive this week for the families, with more on their way for the 3000 families being housed.
“The packs have been created to suit four age ranges of children,” explains Save the Children’s State Director for NT, Noelene Swanson.
“These packs include toys, especially sensory toys, and were generously donated by our partners, including Kmart. We have also included psychosocial support resources for the parents which are available in both Pashto and Dari. These resources can help parents to talk with their kids about the strong emotions they will be feeling, and how they can work through those in an emotionally supported way.
“These items come in a backpack as many of the children are arriving with nothing more than the clothes on their back, and the backpack will be useful when they move on from the quarantine facility.”


An activity pack being sent to Afghan families in Howard Springs for their 6-9 year olds.
Photo: Save the Children.

Continued support for Afghans here and at home

 As the families settle into life in Australia, Save the Children has offered to provide trauma-informed services to Afghan children and their families over the coming months.
And when it’s safe to do so, we’ll continue to be there for the millions of children in Afghanistan, as they navigate their way through childhood under a new leadership.

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