America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan has come to an abrupt close, with the Taliban swiftly taking control of Kabul, the country’s largest city. Photos and videos of desperate Afghans clinging to military cargo planes and clamoring into the airport flooded social media. The images have triggered an outpouring of interest in assisting the Afghan people displaced by the turbulence.
On Aug. 31, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to create an Afghan Refugee Task Force to provide support for Afghans arriving in L.A. County. Even for those lucky enough to make it onto a plane chartered for America, resettling in the United States requires more than alighting on American soil. Refugees face the tall order of finding housing, a job, and other resources, often while navigating a language and cultural barrier.
Several organizations in southern California and beyond are working to ease the burdens for thousands of Afghan refugees coming into the U.S. The Courier has compiled a list of organizations providing aid as a resource for those wishing to do the same.
Visionary Women, an organization dedicated to “high-impact initiatives” for women and girls, is making a donation of $100,000 of emergency relief and encouraging others to do the same. Donations to the organization will go to Women for Afghan Women, the largest women’s organization in Afghanistan, and Protect Afghan Women, an organization aiming to evacuate at-risk women journalists, activists, politicians and their families.
Miry’s List is a Los Angeles-based organization that connects families needing temporary housing and help resettling with the resources other organizations may not be providing them. The organization recently launched an emergency action fund to help Afghanistan refugees. Families arriving in the U.S. are met at their new home by a volunteer, who helps them make a list of supplies they need. You can donate items on a family’s list or volunteer your time to help as a list-maker. Miry’s List is also looking for longer-term volunteers to help families readjust to their new life.
International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee is a global humanitarian aid organization. The IRC provides tents, clean water, sanitizing stations, and basic needs for struggling families in Afghanistan. The organization also provides specific resources for women and girls. You can donate to the IRC’s national organization or the Los Angeles chapter.
International Institute of Los Angeles
The International Institute of Los Angeles is an organization that provides legal aid, job assistance, housing, and other vital services for refugees as they resettle. The Los Angeles location is helping to coordinate the arrival of refugees in southern California. IILA accepts donations and volunteers and has opened a special Refugee Fund.
Episcopal Migration Ministries
Episcopal Migration Ministries, a ministry of the Episcopal Church, is an agency that helps resettle refugees in the United States. The agency has resettled over 1,100 refugees from nearly 30 countries. Afghans who need help can turn to Episcopal Migration Ministries for airport rides, housing, English classes, job assistance, and more. The agency also has several other locations throughout the United States.
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) is a Jewish-American humanitarian aid organization that works with refugees. HIAS focuses their aid on groups that face persecution or violence in their home countries. HIAS is currently partnering with AirBnB to connect refugees with temporary housing. Donations to HIAS can help provide food, housing, English classes, job training, counseling, and more.