Local relief organizations fight to help influx of Afghan refugees – WSB-TV Channel 2

CLARKSTON, Ga. – A huge influx of refugees from Afghanistan has started the process of finding a home in the United States with the help of relief organizations and other groups trying to get them used to everyday life in a new country.

Hundreds have already taken refuge in the town of Clarkston in DeKalb County. Clarkston is one of the most diverse cities in the Atlanta subway and has been considered a “safe haven” for Afghan refugees. Local relief organizations say hundreds are on the way over the next few months.

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Channel 2 reporter Ashli ​​Lincoln spoke to a couple of local agencies trying to help newcomers learn their way around the area and adapt to life in their new homes. These agencies tell her that the biggest challenge they face is not necessarily financial, but finding volunteers to help with tasks like taking the new residents on shopping and other daily tasks.

Safa Delery is one of the volunteers trying to help. Delery told Lincoln that once the wave of stories of natives in Afghanistan fleeing the country slowed, donations have also slowed down.

“It’s kind of stalled,” Delery said. “Afghans do not get much of the help here in America”

Delery is himself an Afghan American. She has volunteered for countless hours and provided as much support as she can to Afghan families. With three brothers still living in Afghanistan unable to escape during the Taliban’s takeover in August, she considers it her mission to help. But the need continues to grow.

“We do not have enough volunteers to take them to the grocery store to provide them with the groceries they need,” Delery said. “We do not have transportation to help them get to a health clinic to have their children checked up.”

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Lincoln spoke with Justin Howell, who is the executive director of the International Rescue Committee. They are one of Atlanta’s largest non-profit organizations and seek to help Afghan refugees switch to local housing and jobs.

“Just arriving in Atlanta is just the beginning of the journey,” Howell said. “The 400 people we have welcomed over the last month and more people we have resettled in all the previous financial years.”

Howell said more than half of the 1,500 Afghan refugees to arrive in Georgia over the next few months will be assigned to his agency. He said it means they will need even more volunteers, translators and most importantly, donations from people who are able to help.

“Organizations like the IRC are not going this route only in the first month, three months or six months,” Howell said. “For us, this is a journey that can take years.”

“We need more housing support,” Delery said.

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The International Rescue Committee has launched a new campaign aimed at raising $ 1.7 million to help refugees find jobs, learn English and find long-term housing.

“The reason most of these people are here now is because of their attitude. Because of their side with the United States, because of their work with the military, they are targets now,” Howell said.

Howell also explained that it is not only the number of refugees they see that creates the challenge, it is also a timing problem with new refugees being transported via military bases, like his, only getting 48 hours notice that a new group is coming. He said it takes time to find housing and transportation, a luxury that they had in the past but that they no longer enjoy.

If you would like to help IRC, you can go to their website to find out how to donate. Rescue.org/GiveAtlanta

For anyone interested in volunteering, you can also find ways to help Rescue.org.

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