October 1, 2021
Update on Afghan Refugee Resettlement
The Conejo Valley Interfaith Refugee Welcome team has been working over the last month to find ways that we can help support those who are currently arriving from Afghanistan, as well as helping some local families who are trying to get their family members out of Kabul.
The team has a list of vetted agencies, both faith-based and US government, with experience receiving and/or supporting new arrivals.
Currently, there are 54,000 new arrivals from Afghanistan living on US Military Bases around the country. The 9 national refugee resettlement agencies will be helping to settle the families in communities around the country. We had hoped that we would be able to sponsor a family who is settling in the Conejo Valley/Simi Valley/Ventura or the San Fernando Valley. Currently, we have not identified a family. This of course, could change at any time. There are a few families that the Conejo Valley Interfaith Refugee Welcome Team helped resettle during the last 5 years who are trying to get their family members out of Kabul, but as of now, they are still there. If they arrive here, we will switch gears to direct our support to those families. In the meantime – there are thousands and thousands of families who need help. Many of them arrived in the US with nothing.
Until a family arrives here, the Conejo Valley Interfaith Refugee Welcome Team has decided to encourage congregations to concentrate on supporting one of the following:
Miry’s List www.miryslist.org/volunteer is a nonprofit organization that provides direct help for refugee families by providing specific items needed by new arrivals as well as helping them to learn English and other guidance that they need to live in their new homes.
- List Makers –turn the families wish lists into online wish lists (similar to a wedding or baby registry), finding and prioritizing all the items and then sharing the list with their network. List makers continue to maintain their lists, periodically adding new items and making sure items are still in stock. This is a great way to get involved with Miry’s List without a huge time commitment and with no special skills required.
- Virtual Tutor -The SANAH Virtual Learning Program, a 8-12 week program focused on conversational English and social-emotional learning.
- Family Wishlist Ambassador – The resettling refugee families in our program come to the United States fleeing persecution and violence, often disconnecting from a sense of community and support system for many years during migration. To be showered with welcome gifts from new American neighbors is a joyous, helpful and healing experience for the families. Family Wishlist Ambassadors share a family list with their network, asking the people in their world to join them in sending a housewarming gift to the family. We hope that by the end of this process your matched family’s wish list has less than 5 items left.
Military Bases are housing thousands of new arrivals for processing. The needs are dire as people may arrive with literally nothing. There are reports of children without shoes dressed in garbage bags. There are lists on various websites. Here are some of the wish lists:
- Holman Air Force Base, New Mexico – www.volunteerholloman.com
- Fort Bliss – El Paso Texas
- Amazon wish list: El Paso Armed Services YMCA https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3ZAO9E20U8LY
- Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst – New Jersey
The Conejo Valley Interfaith Refugee Welcome Team needs to replenish the treasury to assist families who are/may come here and in the greater LA area. Temple Adat Elohim is a member of the Team. The funds are held in a restricted dedicated account at the United Methodist Church and used for small donations directly to individuals and families:
Temple Adat Elohim is accepting financial donations to help the refugees with uncovered expenses. You can make a donation to Temple Adat Elohim www.adatelohim.org/donate, and indicate that it is for “Social Action – Refugee Resettlement.” We will then direct these dollars to the families when they arrive.
If you would like more information or to discuss how you can help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.