22May2022

SCM Medical Missions

Contacts

3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

info@scmmedicalmissions

+1 206-545-7307

Category: Afghanistan

AfghanistanCommunity ServiceHumanitarian AidRefugees

Update on Afghan Refugee Arrivals

We received an update on the arrivals of Afghan refugees in Washington State from the office of Sarah Peterson, head of the Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance at the Department of Social and Health Services. There are good resource links within this message from them and a video about Washington State’s efforts in assisting the incoming refugees.

We are helping to collect supplies for them and a partial list is on Amazon at https://a.co/hkDPCA3, and we also need new socks for all ages, hygiene supplies, coloring books and crayons, and puzzles for children. Items can be sent to our office at 3806 Whitman Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98103.

We are also in need of funds to help with rent and utility bills for those struggling to meet expenses.


Afghan Arrivals – Since the end of September, Washington has welcomed more than 2,500 Afghan refugees through Operation Allies Welcome, which includes over 130 people through the Washington State Afghan Placement and Assistance initiative.  More than 75% of recent arrivals have resettled in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.  Approximately 13% resettled in Spokane, 5% in Clark County, 3% in Benton-Franklin and less than 1% in Whatcom County.  Washington is also home to multiple Sponsor Circle groups that together will welcome over 70 people.  Sponsor Circles is a community-led, private sponsorship model for welcoming Afghan newcomers to local communities. 

Afghan BackgrounderCORE, the Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange, and IRC recently developed a backgrounder on Afghanistan.  This document covers the historical, political and cultural information to support a general understanding of the Afghans arriving in the United States.  CORE’s website offers additional information and resources:  https://coresourceexchange.org/working-with-afghans/

Washington to Washington: Afghan ResettlementTVW did an episode on welcoming Afghans to Washington State.  It features the great work that is happening across the state and includes interviews with impacted families.

King County Metro Subsidized Annual Pass –  The referral handouts give a brief overview of the subsidized annual pass, as well as information on how to enroll. Once customers are enrolled into the subsidized annual pass, they’re provided with the How-To Guide that lets them know how to use their subsidized annual pass. kingcounty.gov/subsidizedannualpass.

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidRefugees

Update on Afghan Refugee Assistance

Below is a report from one of our super volunteers, Pamela, on her delivery of donations to recently arrived Afghan families. She includes a list of items needed – please note that children’s shoes are really needed!


It was a successful 2022 day all around at the Clothing Center serving Refugees and delivering needed clothing and hygiene essentials to many Afghan Refugees at temporary housing in Federal Way. Thanks to everyone who made this possible today and for the UMC donations that will help us buy many more needed items!

We took a huge number of coats, toddler clothing, handmade blankets, essential hygiene bags, winter hats and scarves, two sewing machines with a bag of Fiskars scissors and sewing notions, and toys that will go to the many newly arrived families.

Joe Meyer and Sean (Rita’s friend who helped drive the toys) offered to be regular drivers for future Friday afternoon deliveries. Beautiful children playing in the lobby came running out to help carry and made our work very worthwhile with their enthusiasm and smiles! The sewing machines, supplies and fabric was very appreciated. Tonight the small temporary housing facility staff will set up the items we sent and prepare for an orderly, fair distribution tomorrow. I think it’s likely that there will be a little something for everyone. How awesome that we finally have a way to help many new arriving Afghans.

I’ll discuss what particular additional needs there are with the Manager for next week, but I expect more coats are needed and children’s shoes. She said tennis shoes for kids in all sizes would be great. We saw a number of kids with no shoes. The Assistant Manager told me they have none. A couple of kids were wearing their dad’s sandals.
Here are needed items for Hygiene Bags if anyone asks:

packages of new underwear for women, men, girls and boys in all sizes;
• children’s new tennis shoes;

maxi pads;
• hair brushes;
• deodorant;
• shampoo/conditioner;
• razors;
• liquid dish detergent;

baby wipes;
• small first aid kits;
• nail clippers;
• Band-Aids;
• floss;
• chap stick;

cosmetics;
• body lotion.
• We can use more basic school supplies like spiral notebooks, pencils and pens, crayons, glue sticks.
• Other option: gift cards
.

My day was topped only by a great email from Jeanne letting me know that she and Joe will donate 2 kids bicycles! And I hear a few others are planning to do a little refurbishing of bikes to donate too.

I’m just pretty overwhelmed at the go power and care of Fairwood Community UMC. I was so glad my daughter, Ingrid, could come to see what your Church has made possible. It’s certainly uplifting to my family, but more importantly to many Afghan Refugees!

I’ll keep you posted and plan to be down next Friday.
Stay COVID Super Safe!! Pamela


Thank you so much Pamela for all your efforts!

Please contact SCM if you have items to donate. We also have an Amazon Wish List for some of these items that will be shipped to our office. Click here to see the list and order: https://a.co/hkDPCA3

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidRefugees

Wrapping Up 2021

Dear friends, supporters, and donors:

Many of you know, or might be aware, that since August of this year SCM has been heavily involved in supporting families and other vulnerable people seeking to leave Afghanistan. It started as a small project after getting a call from one of my friends, Dr Michael Failla, whom SCM works with in regard to the LGTB communities. He told me he had a group of 17 young Afghan men that needed to get out of Kabul and other areas. He said he had found a gentleman that was willing to work with us in getting a charter flight out of the country. He was working with a Task Force that was committed to get Afghan allies and their families. I said yes, we would be willing to help any way we could with this endeavor. I started to contact my old Afghan friends around the region to see who had business in Kabul and could help us with getting funding to the people or finding safe houses until the 17 men could be transported out of the country.

It is really hard to explain what this work is like to most people and to convey the stories that I was hearing at 3 or 4 in the morning from these young people that were being tortured, maimed, threatened with death, and stories of friends that had been killed. The work is all-consuming and fills my nights and days, but it also gives me so much energy knowing that we have to do this for humankind and help these people.

For the last 10 years SCM has been working and supporting refugee families through this great grassroots organization that is so full of volunteers that have such big hearts, they are willing to do whatever is needed to help these vulnerable people. We have worked with the Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi Lebanese refugees, and now with the Afghan refugees.

I started to reach out to people that I know in the governments in other countries to see how they could help and the answer I got back is “what do you want me to do?” We started to build a group of NGOs, charities, and just everyday people that wanted to help. I was up almost every day at 3 or 4 in the morning taking calls from people that found out about us and were requesting help for their families and friends. We had a woman that had contacts with the government in making list of families and individuals with all the pertinent information to get them on an evacuation list. I finally got the best news about a month ago that the 17 people were on a list of people to be evacuated out of the country.

The next step was to get them to the airport with all the right paperwork. We were able to do that with a lot of hard work and a lot of prayers. The flight was delayed but it was finally given permission about 24 hours later and it flew to Abu Dhabi. The men will stay there while we work on getting their paperwork to get them into Canada. It is so rewarding to hear the voices of these young men thanking us and so happy that they will be starting a new life. We still have so much more to do and this is only a small part of our work.

We are still working with the Afghan refugees that are coming into Washington state. There are 890 families to date, and more are coming in. The big NGOs are trying their best but due to the virus and cutbacks they do not have enough staffing. Also, they are not being given enough time to set things up and find accommodations for the incoming refugees. They only getting notice of arrival a couple of days before the families get here. We have 100 families that are staying in hotels right now until housing can be found for them. They have not gotten their paperwork to look for jobs or get the kids into school.

SCM has partnered with some of the NGOs to help get the refugees settled. We have also set up a free clothing store at a space that has been donated by a church in Renton. It is open on Fridays and Saturday every week and families come in and get what they need – warm clothing, essential hygiene products, household supplies, furniture, and other needed items. We are getting them new mattresses that are being donated by the Church of Latter Day Saints, and will help to make sure they have housing, food, and basic necessities.

We are still providing medical, food, and humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in Jordan and to the people of Lebanon. We are a small NGO, but all the volunteers have hearts that are so big, and they want to do what they can to make this a BETTER PLACE.

Still, we need your help. As the year is coming to an end, please help us by making a tax-deductible donation that will help us buy food, medicines, school supplies, pay rent for refugee families, and more. Please join us – any donation that you can make would be so appreciated. I will keep getting up at 2 or 3 in the morning and take those calls and help anyone that is asking me. That is what we are about at SCM.

Thank you for your continued support and Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

~Rita

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidRefugees

Clothing Bank for Refugees

Our clothing store, or bank, that we had set up at another church in Renton has been moved to a new location that we will be able to use for the next two months. Thank you to all the volunteers who help make the move!

Our three main hero’s that made this happen – Kathy, Fareeda, and Pamela. They found the location, got volunteers and organized the setup. We had about 44 for the move and we started at 9:30am and had everything done by 2:30pm on moving day.

The new clothing bank will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 10-2 every week through January 2022. Refugees can come in to get clothing, hygiene supplies, and diapers.

We can always use vaccinated volunteers to help the families when they come to get supplies!

Location:

15255 SE Fairwood Blvd
Renton, WA 98058

AfghanistanHumanitarian AidLGBTQI

‘I’m just trying to survive’

CNN has reported on the story of the two Afghan men SCM is helping to get to safety. Our friend and LGBTQ activist Michael Failla is leading this effort. You can read the full article here about escaping one city and then being in hiding in Kabul, and their escape to Pakistan where they are waiting to be approved to come to the US.

And please donate to help them with survival expenses and to help them get on their feet once they are in the US.

AfghanistanHuman RightsHumanitarian AidLGBTQIRefugees

LGBTQI Afghans in Need

When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, Ahmed and his younger brother Mahmoud had no choice but to run. They left their home with all their possessions, found a hiding spot in a tiny room with no toilet or bathroom and stayed there terrified for weeks while their government collapsed and their country changed completely.

Ahmed is gay, in a country where being LGBTQ is punishable by death from the Taliban  – who have avowed to continue this horrific practice. He received death threats and was actively being hunted.

Both brothers are also Hazara, an ethnic minority much persecuted in Central Asia. The brothers’ own father was killed in a massacre of Hazara males when they were small children. They converted to Christianity but being ex-Muslim and Christian puts them in danger from religious fundamentalists, who see renouncing their religion as blasphemy.

Thankfully, they have escaped to Pakistan but they are constantly under threat of being forcibly returned to Afghanistan like many refugees before them. 

We’re helping them apply for safety in the US but there’s a long way to go. If you’d like to sign their petition, click here! 

We are raising funds to help support the brothers while they await the outcome of their asylum claim. Both are talented and hardworking, with a huge variety of experience. We want to support them until they are able to reach safety and become part of and contribute to the community. Ahmed wants to become an LGBTQ advocate, helping people in his situation and Mahmoud wants to complete his studies at university.

Can you help these brothers? We need funds to help maintain them while they receive their asylum claim, and also to find their feet when they arrive in the US. Every little counts!

Please share with your friends and thank you!