A New Wave of Afghan Refugees
Even as the crisis in Ukraine dominates headlines, JFCS East Bay is receiving another wave of Afghan refugees fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan that began last summer. We are offering services for Ukrainian arrivals; however, the majority of our refugee clients are still Afghan.
Why do Afghan refugees still urgently need our attention?
- Watch a short ABC news video featuring JFCS East Bay client Nasrullah describing his family’s situation as the world’s attention shifts to Ukraine and explaining that Afghan refugees still need urgent assistance.
- Read an opinion article from JFCS East Bay Case Manager Walid Aziz, who resettled from Afghanistan in 2016, but still has family in danger.
What is JFCS East Bay doing to help?
Many of the families arriving to the East Bay originally fled Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, but have been staying in other countries since last August as they waited for the paperwork and resources necessary to complete their resettlement journeys. HIAS, the international humanitarian organization that partners with JFCS East Bay in local refugee resettlement, is processing a steady stream of refugee and asylee clients and connecting them with our agency. HIAS anticipates processing over thirty thousand SIVs, or Special Immigrant Visa holders, through the end of this year or next, which will be served and resettled by JFCS East Bay and other affiliates around the U.S.
Our Refugee Services team resettles an average of three to four families per week, some with as many as nine family members. Resettlement includes a wide array of services from securing housing and furnishings to helping family members learn English and find job placements, and much more.
Since last July, JFCS East Bay has resettled 700 individuals, most of whom are Afghans. When surveyed in September, we found that nearly 60% of those family households are self-sufficient – meaning they are able to find employment and cover their expenses, children are enrolled in classes, and any family members who need additional services are able to set up appointments and navigate the necessary systems for themselves. Of the remaining client households who have not reached self-sufficiency, many are still dealing with medical needs, missing employment documentation, trouble with paying high East Bay housing rental costs, and legal assistance. Our agency is helping.
“I will do everything I can to help newcomers transition to life in this country — whether it’s teaching families to use unfamiliar kitchen appliances or helping them find work. I’m grateful to see all these people here; every Afghan life on American soil is a life protected from the Taliban.”
– Walid Aziz, JFCS East Bay case manager who resettled from Afghanistan in 2016