London Mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a new fund to help refugees from Afghanistan in the city with a publicity campaign stating ‘Refugees Welcome’. The new London Refugee Response fund is directly targeted at those who have arrived in London having fled the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, many of them with nothing.
He thanked Londoners for the generosity they had already shown as he visited a drop-off point for donations at Lewisham in south-east London. ‘I’m immensely proud that our city has once again demonstrated that we are welcoming and open to all,’ said Khan. ‘The response from Londoners has been incredible and I’d like to thank everyone who has offered donations to help Afghan refugees and all the volunteers who are giving their time to help.’
The government has pledged to resettle up to 20,000 Afghan refugees. Khan called on ministers to help local authorities in the capital to give the refugees indefinite leave to remain and continued support in terms of healthcare, education and social integration. ‘I want to work with government,’ said Khan, ‘to ensure boroughs and community organisations have all the support they need to help resettle Afghan families and help them to establish a long-term future in our city.’
In a very visible public declaration of support, welcome messages were displayed yesterday on the famous billboards in Piccadilly Circus and across the TfL London Underground network. The displays simply read ‘Refugees Welcome’ and ‘London Welcomes Refugees’, written in English, Dari and Pashto (the two official languages of Afghanistan).
‘Our charities, voluntary organisations and councils are doing all they can to help them settle into our city,’ said Khan. ‘Showing that we will always provide refuge to those seeking sanctuary.’
To find out more about the London Refugee Response initiative here. More info on the Lewisham Donation Hub here.