Hi, my name is Murray Cowan, I work on projects in other country governments and I hope you will read to the end.
I am seeking to raise funds for Afghan friends and their families who are being evacuated from Afghanistan with little more than the clothes they wear to the UK to start new lives. They are deeply committed, well-educated and utterly professional and decent people. They are the sort of great people you would like to have as friends, work colleagues or neighbours. Given the current situation in Afghanistan, I will keep them anonymous but will happily explain privately to anyone some additional details.
I had the great privilege to be looked after by them when I worked on a United Nations project in Afghanistan for periods in 2016, 2017 and 2018. My friends were part of larger team working tirelessly to support Afghan colleagues build the much needed capacity to bring security and justice to the citizens of Afghanistan. They helped me understand the very complex context, thoughtfully guided me where our shared efforts might have most effect and always - always - made sure I was safe.
I described this then and continue to explain it now as the "hardest government reform challenge in the world". Their team was led by a brilliant, inspiring and kind young American - Anil Raj - who was killed in November 2019 when returning from the office. I don't know what Anil would make of these events - I know he would certainly be distraught but he would also find ways of bringing generosity and kindness to those who need it most.
My friends did not just serve the effort of the United Nations - they also served the Government of the United Kingdom when needed their courage and commitment was needed most. By virtue of that service to our country, they are being evacuated to try and build a new lives for themselves and their families of beautiful young girls and boys.
The tragic recent events in Afghanistan have forced them to evacuate with next to nothing. Initially allowed 2 x suitcases and hand luggage for each family member, the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan forced emergency measures and they are now only permitted hand luggage with all other possessions left. As they sought entry to the British emergency rendezvous location in Kabul, uncontrolled crowd surges led to the loss of hand luggage amongst their families. They arrive in the UK with little more than what they are wearing.
So please give what you can so that some contribution can be made to help my friends who served the UK and international organisations in exceptional circumstances. I know it will be really appreciated by their families. I know it will make a vital difference to their young boys and girls who have gone through a terrifying experience which most of us cannot comprehend.
In closing, I remember Anil's profile picture on his WhatsApp was the famous Nike ad with Colin Kaepernick (American footballer) with the words "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything". Anil tragically paid with his life. My friends and their families have lost all they have and I hope some generosity can be shared to help them start again and pursue new life dreams.
Thank you for reading and thank you even more for your kindness, Murray