JC readers send £130k to aid Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban for a new life abroad

One sent a five-figure cheque after reading an article in the JC in April about charity Azadi, which has already helicoptered 850 people to safety


A generous JC reader sent a five-figure cheque and helped to raise a further £130,000 to help Afghans flee the Taliban for a new life abroad.

Their actions were sparked by an article in the JC in April about charity Azadi.

“Talk about the power of the media,” says Simon Myerson, a QC who set up the charity with solicitor friend Daniel Berke, fellow barrister Sarah Magill and retired officer Andrew Fox.

“We got a message out of the blue saying, ‘I read about your charity in the Jewish Chronicle and I would like to help.’

“Someone in our organisation said, ‘The good wish fairy really does exist’ because this has been astonishing, it has made such a huge difference for us.”

It is nearly a year since Allied forces pulled out of Afghanistan leaving thousands who had helped them at the mercy of the Taliban. Mr Myerson and his friends went into action soon after.

Since then, Azadi, which means freedom in Pashtun,has helicoptered 850 people to safety, many of them ultimately settling in Brazil, one of few countries willing to take them.

The JC article prompted a wave of generous donations from readers. A banker who has asked to remain anonymous sent a cheque for a five figure sum and, with his friends, stumped up a further £130,000 — enough to see five families into safety as host countries demand a guarantee each group will be funded for at least six months when they arrive. The charity is run entirely by volunteers headed by young lawyer Rosie Shaw.

As well as the 850 who have made it out of Afghanistan, 20 “Azadi” babies have been born. Many of Azadi’s clients will never be named because it could put their remaining relatives in danger.

“We are in touch with all of them and when they send us photos of themselves in Brazil they look completely different,” says Mr Berke. “You can physically see how the weight has been taken off their shoulders.”

The charity still requires at least £400,000 to help families now in its care. “Really our country should have done more to help the people who helped us in Afghanistan,” said Mr Myerson. “As they haven’t, we’ve stepped in but we can only do what we can do.”

To find out more about Azadi, go to

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive