Of course, you knew that our headline (which is in Pashto, in case you were wondering), means “Referee, she is onside now.”  Actually, you almost certainly didn’t know that, but it seemed fitting, following the good news that the Afghan girls’ football development squad has been granted UK visas after an offer of support from Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani. The 35 young women – many in their teens and along with their families and football coaches – were in Lahore, Pakistan, on 30-day visas.

The team and its associates were at serious risk from the Taliban simply by virtue of their sex and the fact that they had played women’s football in Afghanistan and in national public football tournaments.  They are, of course, not the only ones seeking refuge from the Taliban.

It’s reported from the US that organisations providing aid to Afghan refugees across the United States are struggling, not just with the numbers coming (estimated at 50,000 at least) but also with the demand for language services.

This is mirrored across the world, where nations are, to varying extents, offering safe havens for those who wish to flee Afghanistan. In the UK, the government has devised a resettlement scheme to assist “around 5,000 people in the first year and up to 20,000 over the coming years.” These numbers are “in addition to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme, which has already settled thousands of Afghans who have worked with the UK government, and their families.”

Although some of those coming, or already here, have worked as interpreters for the UK military and will therefore be fluent in English, there will, inevitably, be thousands whose knowledge of the language is sketchy, at the very best.  For those people, it’s important that they are not just welcomed and accommodated, but that they have interpreters and translators who can help them communicate and settle.  Initiatives by NFP organisations, such as the Sahaba Initiative in the United States, certainly help, but for the most part it’s going to be government that organises the heavy lifting here.  At Global Connects, we have already been alerted by the relevant Scottish authorities to ensure we have plenty of availability as they foresee an increased need for translations/interpreting in Pashto and Dari, the two main Afghan languages.  It’s something we have been planning for and we look forward to helping do our bit to help the Afghani people to enjoy their new lives here in our country.

Fiona Woodford, Head of Languages, Global Connects