Reuniting Afghan Families Amid Crisis
*Image does not depict characters in this story.
RefugePoint has around 40 staff working in sensitive and precarious situations across Africa and the Middle East, some of which are currently supporting Afghan refugees to resettle to safe countries. One of those staff members recently began working on a case of two unaccompanied children who fled Afghanistan with their mother after the Taliban killed their father.* While attempting to cross the border to escape Afghanistan, they became separated in a great crowd of people fleeing. Amid the chaos, the children were ushered across the border by other refugees who assured them that they would rejoin their mother on the other side. Tragically, their mother did not make it across and the children have not seen or heard from her in over a year.
The young children were forced to navigate a new, foreign country on their own. They were eventually registered as refugees and identified for resettlement, which is where our Expert first came into contact with the kids. RefugePoint has a number of Child Protection Experts based in the country to which the siblings fled. Our staff member has been working to reunite the children with family in a safe country.
Fortunately, the children had a relative living in a safe country with whom they could live with. Our Child Protection Expert has started the formal reunification process for them and is working to move the case along as quickly as possible. This relative had also searched in vain for their mother. Our staff member has similarly had no luck in tracking her down, despite consistent effort through numerous methods.
The plight of unaccompanied refugee minors is an extremely grave concern, which is why we prioritize these individuals in all of our casework. Young girls in particular are at risk of forced marriage, child pregnancy, abduction, and other protection concerns. The RefugePoint staff member working on this case has many years of child protection experience, having worked across multiple continents to help unaccompanied children similar to these two. Our team is hopeful that these children will soon find a loving home in a safe country with their relative and may one day reunite with their mother.
Cases like these are becoming increasingly common as more Afghans flee the country. Our staff are located in a number of nearby countries working to help Afghan refugees access resettlement and other solutions. Given the dire situation in Afghanistan, RefugePoint expects to expand these efforts in the coming weeks and months.
*For the safety of our staff and clients, we have redacted details that could put them at risk.