The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has sent the country spiraling into a humanitarian crisis. Although at least 12,000 Afghans have been evacuated via the Kabul airport, tens of thousands of others remain in danger. Those who supported the United States and NATO troops—including interpreters—are at the highest risk of being arrested or killed.
As part of our commitment to the interpreting community, we’ve compiled information on how interpreters can apply for refugee status in Canada and how our readers can help them. For resources on U.S. visa programs and nonprofits, click here.
Special Programs for Afghan Interpreters and Other Refugees
The Canadian government has agreed to resettle up to 20,000 refugees through Special Programs. These include a special program for:
- Afghan nationals and their families who assisted the Canadian government.
- Afghan nationals who don’t have a durable solution in a third country, including
- Women leaders
- Human rights activists
- LGBTI individuals
- Journalists and people who assisted Canadian journalists
- Immediate family members of one of the above
- Extended family members of previously resettled interpreters who assisted the Canadian government.
To apply, write an email to [email protected] and include:
- Your full name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Phone number
- Description of work with the Canadian government including:
- Your title or position
- Identification number, if you have one
- Name(s) of current Canadian point(s) of contact, if possible
- Copy of your passport and passport for each eligible family member traveling with you, if possible
Please note: You don’t need to be in Afghanistan or return to Afghanistan to be eligible.
How You Can Help
If you’d like to help Afghans who are awaiting refugee status or have already arrived in Canada, here are three organizations that are accepting donations and need volunteers.
Veteran Transition Network is a veteran-led nonprofit organization that has set up an emergency fund to provide shelter and support for interpreters and their families. Donations go toward immediately helping Afghans by paying for interim housing and a living wage for those awaiting permission to enter Canada.
Afghan-Canadian Interpreters is an initiative made up of civilian volunteers, veterans, and serving members of the Canadian armed forces. It provides interpreters and their families with the expenses required for the relocation process.
Islamic Relief Canada provides emergency aid in disaster zones which includes food packages and hygiene and water storage kits. The organization has been on the ground in Afghanistan for twenty years and is asking for donations to assist those who have been displaced.
Whether it’s donating money, volunteering, or simply sharing with your network, we encourage you to help however you can!
Since the situation remains incredibly fluid, we encourage you to include any other legitimate, proven organization in the comments which may be of help. We will keep this article updated with information as the humanitarian crisis unfolds.