This District 5190  Grant  # DG2223062 was initiated to provide financial and volunteer support to two NGOs [Non-government organizations] that are currently aiding Afghan  individuals and families that are in hiding following the collapse of their government last summer, 2021.  These supported individuals assisted in moving the international agenda to build a more stable Afghanistan and are now facing retribution from the Taliban as a result of their past partnership with the US.  
The two organizations are EVAC and Operation Snow Leopard [OSL] 
EVAC  is an all-volunteer 501c3 that works to protect, evacuate and resettle their group of 352 Afghans that are in hiding with the fear of imprisonment, torture and execution by the Taliban.  The majority are families with young children.  Not only are they unable to work because they are in hiding, but they are also faced with starvation, disease and instability associated with Afghanistan’s collapsing economy and extreme food shortages.  Many are also Hazara, an ethnic minority that is facing genocide.   Most of these individuals have immigration pathways to the US or other 3rd countries and have hope for a better life if they can survive their current situation and leave Afghanistan.  
Operation Snow Leopard is a 501c3 group of private citizens working to evacuate our Afghan partners and their families including: interpreters, women leaders, human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, and other vulnerable minorities who have been stranded in Afghanistan after the collapse of the Islamic Republic August 15, 2021.  These people are actively hunted by the Taliban because they stood with the U.S. and against everything the Taliban represents.
To avoid capture, most spend no more than one night in a single location. Many live apart from their families to spare them the likely horror of seeing their loved ones executed or detained and never heard from again. The Taliban visit their homes almost daily, and relatives are often assaulted, tortured, and robbed for not disclosing their whereabouts. As fugitives in their own land, they cannot earn a living and only venture out in public in the most desperate situations. Operation Snow Leopard intends to honor the promises our country made to these people.
What: Due to the generosity of Grass Valley and surrounding communities, The Rotary Club of Grass Valley in partnership with multiple District 5190 clubs, provided a wide range of support to these at-risk Afghan Allies.  The support included food, shelter, medical and educational resources, as well as assistance in the procurement of necessary identification and immigration documents.  Specifically, the grant provide internet services to 21 families so that children in hiding can attend school, parents can improve language skills, search for jobs and prepare for their family’s future.  We funded urgent medical care for 3 individuals to include an emergency C-section, medical testing for a woman’s rights activist and a man with spine injuries as a result of torture at the hands of the Taliban. The grant provided funds to improve food security and maintain secure housing.   Individuals awaiting the ‘next step’ in their journey were able to obtain visa extensions so that they can remain in safe third countries while their US immigration cases finalize.  A translator who is a high value target of the Taliban and his family, as well a medical student, received passport assistance, opening the door to the next step in their journey.  In the midst of this effort, Afghanistan experienced a significant earthquake.  The grant provided fuel for a mobile emergency response clinic. 
The grant activities were completed in a circuitous manner due to the extreme importance of protecting the identity of the recipients from any Taliban retribution.  OSL and EVAC have a network of local, on-the-ground partners that assist them in supporting and maintaining their respective ‘flock’ of individuals and families.  The transactions were completed in Afghanistan.  Direction for purchases, engagement of professionals, and in-person activities were lead and coordinated by EVAC and OSL leadership and carried out by trusted in-country partners.  Because of the nature of these operations, not only did this grant provide the material support, but it also had a synergistic effect, improving processes and in country networks, connections and relationships.  Each time a new problem or need arises, it requires both a monetary and human solution.  The grant provided funding for multiple new challenges, which created an opportunity for new connections, lines of communication, partnerships etc.  The more these NGOs are financially empowered to take action, the more capabilities they develop.   
A rotary volunteer is now part of the EVAC team, coordinating further fundraising and helping with immigration casework. An on-going volunteer need that we are looking to fill is assistance with EVACs “on-call” and “emergency response” system.   This would include frequent communication via secure internet messaging with the individual Afghans to assess and respond to daily life needs, maintain information flow, share logistical information, and improve processes, supply chain and general level of care provided.  This role would also assist in triggering EVAC’s emergency response process in the case of medical emergencies and immediate security threats.  
The grant was funded May 25 and grant ended the first week of July. Thank you to 5190 District Leadership for extending the grant deadline to July 31, 2022, at which time the grant summary is due.