We’re working closely with partners across Scotland to support people seeking refugee protection following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.  

With funding from The National Lottery, we launched an Afghan Citizens Information Service to help people who have recently arrived in Scotland help them feel at home in their new communities.  

Multilingual information and support

Our Afghan Citizens Information Service team are fluent in Dari and Pashto and all have personal experience of beginning new lives as a refugees in Scotland.  

In the first six months, the service helped more than 1,800 people, providing multilingual information and practical support over the phone, via email and face to face.     

The team has represented Scottish Refugee Council at Eid celebrations, community gatherings, and Afghan cultural and social events across Scotland.  

Members of our Afghan Citizen’s Information Service team have spoken at Scottish Parliament about the challenges faced by Afghans in Scotland. They also met with MPs and MSPs to discuss issues that are raised by people contacting our information service.    

Yalda’s story

Yalda is part of the Afghan Citizens Information Service team. She said: “I am handling calls from newly-arrived Afghan refugees who are in dire need of assistance. The callers have many questions to which I and my colleagues provide guidance and information. 

“When refugees receive proper guidance and their problems are addressed it is very rewarding. From personal experience, I know how they are feeling and how difficult it is. Even a very small assistance is a great help to people in this situation.” 

A Scottish Welcome

In February this year, we teamed up with the Scottish Government, COSLA, and the Afghanistan Resettlement Community Engagement Group to create a series of short films welcoming new arrivals.  

The videos were created with the help of New Scots like Qasim. Having worked as an interpreter for the British Army in Afghanistan, Qasim was in grave danger when the Taliban took control. He had to flee Afghanistan and now lives in Coartbridge with his wife and children.  

By sharing his story , Qasim hopes to help other people arriving in Scotland feel welcome. He said: “When I got the offer from the Home Office of a house in Scotland, I was thinking every night about how it would be. But when I got to Scotland, the people were good and they welcomed us. I got a lot of help. I’m very happy in Scotland. We have a lot of opportunities.” 

You can watch the full series of films here.

Rachel Lamb
Author: Rachel Lamb