On September 8, SFF held a virtual donor briefing on Afghan evacuee refugee resettlement in Northern California. Donors heard from two SFF grantee organizations: the International Rescue Committee (IRC) Sacramento, and Afghan Coalition. Staff from the organizations, who’ve been working around the clock for weeks, discussed the ways in which donors can help the thousands of people who have fled Afghanistan and begun to navigate their new lives here.
Lisa Weize, Senior Site Director at IRC Sacramento, painted a picture of who is arriving from Afghanistan: many are individuals who worked with the U.S. military, such as interpreters, translators, and guides, and some also worked for the U.S. Embassy other international NGOs. In exchange for their work, which was often dangerous, these individuals were given Special Immigrant Visas, granting them the right to permanently resettle in the U.S. Due to their large Afghan populations, cities in Northern California, such as Fremont and Sacramento, are working day and night to help Afghans who are arriving at nearby airports.
Ahmad Ghory is a caseworker supervisor for IRC Sacramento. He previously worked for the US State Department in Afghanistan, a role that led the Taliban to try to kidnap his children. While many of his relatives are still stuck in Afghanistan, Mr. Ghory and his colleagues are helping Afghan refugees secure temporary housing in Northern California, obtain Social Security numbers, enroll their children in schools, and take English classes. IRC Sacramento most urgently needs donations to its Soft Landing Fund, which helps their clients with rent, utilities and basic needs as they resettle in California.
Afghan Coalition, an Afghan-led organization based in Fremont, is facing an unprecedented challenge: their staff of six is now helping more than 150 Afghans find housing, complete visa applications, and collect food and home supplies to furnish homes.
Mizgon Darby, program manager at Afghan Coalition, shared the story of a man who worked for USAID but couldn’t get to the Kabul airport before the US’ August 31 evacuation deadline. “The Taliban are going to find us — please promise to take care of my wife and my children,” he told the Afghan Coalition, which, thankfully was able to help the man and his family escape to Pakistan. Ms. Darby wanted our donors to know that “These are very resilient people. Beyond philanthropic dollars, coming together and serving these individuals, as they have served us, is really critical.” Afghan Coalition most urgently needs donations so that they can hire additional staff to help expand outreach, home visits, and mental health support.
Support Afghan Evacuees Arriving in California:
- Afghan Coalition
- International Rescue Committee, Sacramento (the Soft Landing Fund)
- Immigration Institute of the Bay Area
- Jewish Family Children’s Services East Bay
- Upwardly Global
- SFF donors can give now on your donor portal and for additional giving recommendations, contact your Philanthropic Advisor at donorservices[at]sff.org.