The news of the unprecedented Afghan crisis took the world by storm. Thousands of Afghan citizens suddenly found themselves in a country no longer run by democracy but by a terror group. Fearing for their lives, numerous Afghans turned into refugees overnight. Countries from all over the world— from neighbouring countries such as Tajikistan to those overseas such as the U.S., Canada and Australia— opened up their borders to these helpless people, desperate to flee the Taliban rule.
Businesses and corporations have always extended a helping hand to those in need, so it was no surprise that many multinational corporations and large-scale enterprises offered support to Afghan refugees in whatever manner they could.
- Free Housing And Accommodation
Homelessness due to displacement and lack of funds are among the foremost issues faced by refugees. So, the international community-based lodging and rental website Airbnb decided to provide a temporary haven to several Afghan refugees. In a company blog post, Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky announced that Airbnb.org— an independent nonprofit organisation that works towards facilitating temporary accommodation for those displaced in times of crisis— will house 20,000 Afghan refugees globally for free.
The entire initiative was funded by Airbnb.org, through donations from Airbnb, Brian Chesky, and the donors of the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund. Chesky and the company also called upon non-hosts who are property owners with extra available space to offer their homes to the refugees for short-term stays for free or at a discounted rate. To motivate new potential hosts, the company provided them with Airbnb’s Host Guarantee, covering up to $1,000,000 USD in property damage protection. Nonprofit partners that work with Airbnb.org will assist every refugee guest and help them prepare for their new lives when their emergency stay is over.
- Complimentary Healthcare Options
Health and wellness companies such as Byte and Hims & Hers Health have also offered free services to refugees moving to the US. Neeraj Gunsagar, CEO of Byte, announced that the clear dental aligner company will be donating 25,000 oral health kits to Afghan refugees who are being resettled to the United States. Hims & Hers Health, the prescription and over-the-counter drugs e-commerce marketplace, announced that the company plans on distributing 10,000 primary care and mental health visits to the Afghan refugees through their platform. They aim to keep up with their mission of providing easy access to high-quality, convenient and affordable medical care and personalised treatment plans to all.
- Employment Opportunities
Some companies have expressed interest in providing employment opportunities to the refugees. A large UK based accountancy firm Grant Thornton UK LLP has teamed up with Break Barriers, a London charity, to provide meaningful jobs to the displaced Afghan refugees. In America, Texas Medical Technology, a supplier and distributor of medical equipment, announced that they plan on hiring 100 Afghan refugees within a year at their manufacturing facility in Houston.
- Donations To Non-Governmental Organization And Non-Profit Organisations
Other companies have opted to help through generous donations from their foundations and nonprofits. The LEGO Foundation and KIRKBI have donated US$4.7 million to support UNHCR’s emergency response in Afghanistan. “This grant is an important part of The LEGO Foundation’s ongoing commitment to supporting children affected by crisis,” said John Goodwin, CEO, The LEGO Foundation. Their donation is the largest single contribution by the private sector towards UNHCR’s Afghanistan 2021 supplementary appeal that works towards meeting the growing needs of people internally displaced by the conflict and vulnerable children. Walmart Inc, the American multinational retailer, donated $1 million to three nonprofits through the Walmart Foundation. The different organisations— namely the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, No One Left Behind and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors— work towards supporting Afghan refugees entering the United States along with veterans and their families.
The beauty of humanity is that when times get rough and disaster strikes, we do whatever we can to ease suffering. Each of these businesses are prime examples of the same. In conclusion, as Robert F. Kennedy once said, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”