August 27, 2021
By Greg Sharenow
I write this email with a heavy heart. As I watch events unfold in Afghanistan, I’m saddened by the return of the Taliban and the rise of ISIS-K in a country long impacted by war. It is no wonder the great lengths Afghans are going through to try to leave their country, their native land, many of whom are too young to remember what life was like only 20 years ago under the Taliban rule. It is hard to fathom the fear driving so many people to try to flee by any means possible.
Sadly, this story is frighteningly repetitive. Five years ago, as the flow of refugees into Europe made daily news headlines, we came together to create a way for our friends to help the millions of people fleeing for their lives with no safe place to call home. The response we received—the outpouring of generosity from so many of you—encouraged us to build out our vision and create Refugee Action Fund.
Since our inception, we have donated over $1.5 million to innovative organizations providing safety, dignity and opportunity to millions of people who have been forced from their homes. Our funding has touched the lives of many Afghans—by providing pro-bono attorneys to Afghan allies to help secure SIVs (Special Immigrant Visas), resettling families in the U.S. and helping them get on their feet, and advocating to expand legal protection for Afghan allies and their families. Today, our grantee, International Refugee Assistance Project, is working around the clock to bring as many Afghan allies to safety as possible before it is too late.
I am also keenly aware that the next refugee crisis is just around the corner—in fact, this past week Haiti is reeling from a devastating earthquake, and the Supreme Court denied President Biden’s request to halt a policy that requires asylum-seekers at the U.S. border to stay in Mexico (often in life-threatening conditions) as they await their immigration hearings. Refugee Action Fund’s work is just as critical today as it was five years ago.
I'm proud of the money we have raised, the work we fund and the lives we have touched. As I watch the news from Afghanistan, I feel a small amount of solace knowing that we all have a vehicle to do our part, no matter how small, to help those in need.
I encourage you to make a generous contribution to Refugee Action Fund so we can continue to provide protection and support to Afghan refugees and thousands of people around the world who are fleeing for their lives.