Airbnb, Verizon, Walmart offer support to Afghan refugees


Afghan refugees are escorted to a bus on their arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia on August 25, 2021, which will take them to a refugee center.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Companies are rushing to assist the thousands of refugees who have been evacuated from Afghanistan in the past few days and who are now faced with the difficult task of building a new life in a foreign country.

Airbnb, Verizon, Walmart and Texas Medical Technology are among those who offered to help the more than 100,000 people who fled the country to the US after Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15.

On Tuesday, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company plans to temporarily house 20,000 refugees worldwide for free.

Refugees will be housed in accommodations 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 engagement or how long refugees will be housed.

Airbnb on Thursday invited non-hosts to help through its dedicated emergency shelter website, which allows property owners to offer any available space for free or at a discount. Airbnb urges those who do not have available space to donate money to support the housing effort.

Although access to housing is essential, many refugees need to find work in their new countries in order to become financially independent.

Texas Medical Technology, a medical equipment supplier and distributor, plans to recruit 100 Afghan refugees within one year at a 150,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Houston.

She hopes to have employed 10 Afghan refugees by the end of the month.

Call for free to Afghanistan

In addition, there is maintaining contact with friends and family who are still in Afghanistan, which will be of crucial importance for some in the near future.

Verizon announced on Tuesday that it would waive charges for calls made by private, business and private customers to Afghanistan until September 6th.

“During this time of need, customers need to keep in touch with loved ones in Afghanistan,” said Ronan Dunne, executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Consumer Group, Verizon. “Eliminating these types of telephone charges helps them focus on what matters most: communicating with family and friends.”

The telecommunications company is also inviting customers to donate $ 10 to the International Rescue Committee by sending RESCUE to 25383.

Mental health support

The psychological stress on Afghan refugees could be enormous.

Hims & Hers, a telehealth platform that connects people with licensed health professionals, said Wednesday that it plans to make 10,000 mental health calls to Afghan refugees.

“With a mission to provide access to quality, convenient and affordable medical care and personalized treatment plans and solutions, we feel a moral obligation to act – and do it quickly,” the company said in a blog post on the Hims & Hers website .

Dental sets

Byte said it plans to donate at least 25,000 oral hygiene kits to Afghan refugees being relocated in the US and elsewhere. Neeraj Gunsagar, the company’s CEO, said he felt it was a moral obligation and in the US national interest to help refugees during this crisis.

Instead of offering direct support, some companies donate money to charities. The discounter Walmart, for example, donates US $ 1 million through its philanthropic arm to groups that help Afghan refugees in the United States.

Thousands are still trying to flee Afghanistan before President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline, and there are concerns that many who want to leave the country will not be able to.

The Pentagon said Sunday it had called 18 civilian planes from United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, among others, to move those stationed at temporary locations after landing on flights from Afghanistan.