Afghanistan refugees move towards new life in the States

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Sanjay Fernando

Refugees in need of help moving to America for a new life.

Looking out an airplane, seeing dirt roads to the buildings that made your home, and saying goodbye to a country you always called home. This is the reality for many Afghanistan refugees.

The journey here was not easy for these Afghans. They first had to present a valid visa to come to the United States, and even if they had a visa, some still struggled to get through both the Taliban and American checkpoints. After getting through both checkpoints, Afghan refugees had to wait for an extensive period of time to get on a flight to Europe and then the U.S.  

“I was very confused,” English teacher Sofya Shpilyuk said who immigrated to the U.S from Ukraine when she was nine years old. “[I] was super nauseous on the plane and didn’t know what was happening to me.”

Thousands of Afghan refugees who fled Afghanistan starting mid-August and are now landing in airports around the world, including in the DC area at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. They are living in an entirely new place they are not used to and are saying hello to a new lifestyle. Many of the refugees are in need of essentials like shoes, clothes, and toiletries to start their new life here in the U.S.

Ways to help Afghan refugees:

1. Donate or volunteer with the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore. This committee has helped displaced peoples whose lives have been changed by conflict and disasters rebuild their lives since 1933.

2. Donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross. This is an organization responding to the Afghanistan War by assisting with hospitals, aiding people seeking medical assistance, enforcing humanitarian laws, and helping improve water and sanitization. 

3. The International Refugee Assistance Project is accepting donations; not only does this organization specifically help Afghan refugees with the litigation process to immigrate to the U.S., but it also assists the Afghan refugees with gaining U.S. citizenship.

It does not get easier for many Afghan refugees even after they have successfully arrived here in the U.S.  They then have to find a place to live, look for a job, and work their way to become a citizen. Luckily, there are several programs in place to help these refugees get settled in for their new life in the U.S.

“Caring for people in crisis is a true test of who we are as human beings,” Shpilyuk said. “And if we don’t take care of these people, what does that say about us?”

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