23Feb2024

SCM Medical Missions

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3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

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AfghanistanLGBTQ

The Long Road to Safety for LGBTQ Afghans

Let us tell you a story about one fateful night in Afghanistan that changed the lives of all those who experienced it forever.

Just over one year ago, in the cold of an autumn night, darkness lay heavy over Afghanistan. The Taliban had taken control of the entire country a few months before, and LGBTQ people and female gender rights activists everywhere were in hiding, in deadly fear of torture and death.

“I thought it was the end,” says Talya, a young gay Afghan dancer who hid in an abandoned factory after the Taliban takeover. “I could see no way out.”

But that night was different. Sometime in the early evening, Talya and a group of other young LGBTQ Afghans received a call that gave them a spark of hope for survival. A voice on the other end of the line told them that they had been assigned the last few places on a secret evacuation flight that would depart in a few hours. They were to make their way to the assigned departure point as soon as possible. The password was, “Freedom.”

Talya was many hours of travel away, and even wondered if it could be a trap. “But I thought, better to die trying than not to try at all.”

Talya immediately travelled through dark and dangerous backroads under curfew to the departure point, disguising himself as much as possible. However, as he approached the airstrip, he saw it was surrounded by Taliban.

Thankfully, Talya and the others met the evacuation team who guided them into the airport and negotiated permissions for the evacuation flight to leave for a neighboring country. As the wheels left Afghan soil, the passengers broke into sobs, cries and cheering as the plane climbed steeply, the clouds gave way to a dazzling blue, and Talya and his friends found themselves – most for the first time in their lives – flying high over the mountains of Kabul.

Today, Talya and 40+ others SCM has helped are living in safety in Canada, the UK and USA. They are able to be who they want to be without fear. If you live in Canada and would like to volunteer to welcome and guide them in their “new life” please let us know.

“When the Taliban came, I thought I would never dance again,” says Talya. “But this month I performed as a professional dancer twice at public events which is something I could never do in Afghanistan. My life is changed forever.”

If this story has moved you, then let us tell you about our work. We are SCM Medical Missions, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on bringing relief and aid to people affected by conflict and natural disaster. After the fall of Kabul in July 2021 we spent long and sleepless weeks working contacts in Washington to get Talya and his friends onto the evacuation plane, and many months liaising with other organizations to resettle them in Canada.

We are now supporting more than a hundred of the leading LGBTQ, Gender Equality and Human Rights Advocates of Afghanistan who are either in hiding in Afghanistan or who have fled to neighboring Pakistan. Please help us get them to safety so they can continue their human rights work and educate and inspire the generation left behind. Help them keep the flame alive!

We help find them hiding places and pay for essential ID documents, travel and escape costs, monthly rent and food, as well as finding valuable sponsorship and referral opportunities to safe countries. We are always looking for Canadians who are willing to private sponsor them. For private sponsorship of an individual the circle must raise about $15,000.00 US. We have several families who the Taliban consider enemies because of their previous activism supporting the rights of women and girls. These are very brave women who led the Equal Rights movement under the previous government and heroically protested the Taliban when they took power. The Taliban hunted, tortured, and killed many of their family members. The matriarch of one of our families of 10 had 3 sons and a daughter murdered by the Taliban. Please help us find sponsors to save the remaining lives of this family. The circle must raise almost $100,000.00 for this one family. We have several families in similar need. We at SCM do our best to help with the donations, so please help us save these lives!

Please donate what you can. The cost of what you pay for one dinner in a moderate restaurant could pay the living expenses of a refugee for a few weeks. Give what you can. No donation is too small…they add up.

We are writing to you today to ask whether you can help us continue our vital work. As a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, your donation to SCM Medical Missions is IRS tax-deductible.

Can you help those left behind achieve their dream of safety, and dance again like Talya and his friends?

We would be delighted to talk more if you have any questions and provide any details that you might need.

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