Afghan refugees are taken to a bus that takes them to a refugee processing center on arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia on August 25, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Businesses are rushing to support the thousands of refugees who have been evacuated from Afghanistan in recent days who are now faced with the difficult task of building a new life in an unknown country.
Airbnb, Verizon, Walmart and Texas Medical Technology are among those offering to help the 100,000 people who fled the country to the United States after Kabul fell to the Taliban on Aug. 15.
On Tuesday, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company plans to temporarily accommodate 20,000 refugees worldwide at no cost.
The refugees will be housed in properties listed on the Airbnb platform and the stays will be funded by Airbnb, Chesky said on Twitter, without specifying exactly how much the company plans to spend on the commitment or for how long the refugees will be housed.
Thursday Airbnb invited non-guests to help through its website dedicated to emergency accommodation that allows owners to offer every available space for free or at a discount. Airbnb urges those who do not have space available to donate money to support hosting activities.
While access to housing is essential, many refugees need to find jobs in their new countries to become financially independent.
Texas Medical Technology, a medical equipment supplier and distributor, said it plans to employ 100 Afghan refugees a year in a 144,000-square-foot factory in Houston.
He hopes to employ 10 Afghan refugees by the end of the month.
Then there is keeping in touch with friends and family who are still in Afghanistan, which will be of vital importance to some in the immediate future.
Tuesday Verizon said it plans to drop the charges for calls from its regular and residential customers in Afghanistan through Sept. 6.
“During this time of need, customers need to stay connected with their loved ones in Afghanistan,” said Ronan Dunne, executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Consumer Group for Verizon. “Giving up these types of calling charges will help them focus on what matters: communicating with family and friends.”
Telco also invites customers to donate $ 10 to the International Rescue Committee by sending an SMS to RESCUE at 25383.
The mental health payoff for Afghan refugees could be huge.
Hims & Hers, a telehealth platform that connects people to licensed health professionals, said Wednesday it plans to make 10,000 mental health calls with Afghan refugees.
“With a mission to provide access to high-quality, convenient and accessible medical care and personalized treatment plans and solutions, we feel a moral responsibility to act – and act quickly,” the company said in a blog post on the Hims & Hers site.
Byte said he planned to donate at least 25,000 oral care kits to Afghan refugees who have been resettled in the United States and elsewhere. Neeraj Gunsagar, CEO of the company, said he believes it is a moral obligation and in the national interest of the United States to help refugees in this crisis.
Instead of offering direct support, some companies give money to charity. The discount seller Walmart, for example, donates $ 1 million to groups that help Afghan refugees in the United States through its philanthropic arm.
Thousands of people are still trying to flee Afghanistan ahead of President Joe Biden’s August 31 expiration, and there are many concerns they want to leave the country that they cannot.
On Sunday the Pentagon said it had called 18 civilian aircraft out United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, among others, to help transport those staying in temporary locations after landing flights from Afghanistan.