The events that have unfolded in Afghanistan over the past weeks, with the Taliban taking control of the country, demand the world to pay attention and to take action. Human rights, especially those of women and girls, are at grave risk of being trampled and Australian Fashion Aid is committed to raise our collective voices and stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.
Aus Fashion Aid for Afghanistan
, is a collective movement, driven by The Social Outfit, a social enterprise that exists to empower women from refugee backgrounds through training and employment in the fashion and retail industry; to bring the VOICES of Afghan refugee women to the forefront in the aim of raising awareness and galvanising the efforts of our government and industry, in support of the Afghan population.
The violence, fear and loss of lives that the people of Afghanistan are experiencing is deeply concerning, as we are hearing first hand from the family and friends of our staff and students. It is out of this distress, that we are reaching out as a plea for help.
To date, the Social Outfit has provided life-changing employment to 47 refugees and offered free training to another 313. Providing economic resilience, dignity and community has transformed the lives of these women.
The Australian Fashion and Textile industry is worth $27.2 billion, according to a recent study by the Australian Fashion Council.
As an industry, our VOICE is powerful. Aus Fashion Aid is calling on the Fashion and Textile industry to help raise the VOICE’s of the people of Afghanistan, and amplify their call to protect the human rights of those who are in danger.
Here’s how the Australian Fashion industry can support:
1. Add your organisation’s name as a signatory to the letter The Social Outfit has drafted to send to the Australian Prime Minister by 24 September 2021. This letter calls on our Government to urgently increase its efforts to resettle Afghan refugees.
2. Commit to employ former refugees from the Australian Afghan community. The Social Outfit exists to train women from our refugee communities to work in the fashion industry (retail and sewing), help them to settle better, and thrive through employment. You can be a part of this positive change, helping Afghan women kick-start their careers. Contact Kate Clugston (Partnerships and Developments Manager at The Social Outfit) to learn more about joining The Social Outfit as an employment partner.
3. Follow The Social Outfit on Instagram and join us in sharing the VOICES from the Australian Afghanistan community to amplify their messages and continue to raise awareness, even once the media coverage slows down.
4. Call the PM or your local MP with the following message:
* Offer 20,000 additional refugee settlement places for Afghan refugees immediately. Tony Abbott did it in 2015 with additional places for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, Malcolm Fraser did it in the 1970s to welcome Vietnamese refugees. We can do it again today to share the responsibility to protect Afghans lives at risk.
* Immediately increase Australian aid to the region to support programs to assist people who have been displaced across borders and, wherever possible, support organisations still on the ground in Afghanistan.
* Extend permanent protection to Afghans by providing temporary protection visas, recognising that return to Afghanistan will not be safe for many years to come.
We stand in solidarity with our Afghan sisters and brothers, we are all global citizens.