With the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, Permaculture for Refugees (P4R) connections with Afghanistan became a vital lifeline for our friends and colleagues there – peaceworkers, informal translators, and female academics – all of whom have gone into hiding or escaped to Pakistan.
Some of us in the P4R network have joined communications networks that have been set up to support these groups and individuals in their perilous journeys out of their country to safety. Permaculturists in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia have connected and are supported by peace groups. Organisations like Verge Permaculture donated funds following a Permaculture Summit online in 2021. The network in the U.S. has a ‘buddy’ system connecting with Afghans in danger, and in Australia we are going to start one. The emergency period is largely over, however with the waiting period, fear and uncertainty has a very distressing effect on people. By “holding the hands” of individuals through the drawn-out processes of seeking asylum, the ‘buddy’ system provides much needed psychological support.
Permaculturists and the people from the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) in India, the U.S, Canada, Australia and Europe have said they would be willing to support ‘permie’ refugees if and when they reach any of their shores. India was first to offer this in response to the crisis. This global effort has been coordinated and facilitated by a colleague in Portugal.
P4R and its affiliates support Afghans with money, emails, reliable information and support with applications for visas. This is an international effort by permaculturists. With harsh cold winter at their doorstep Afghan permaculturists living in extreme danger, are now threatened by a winter famine. Afghanistan is in decline sadly with no active permaculturists. We are on alert to see how, when and wherever else we can contribute.
Authors: Rosemary Morrow and Ruth Harvey