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.