It has been a crazy few weeks getting to help so many Afghan families. It is mixed with so many emotions for us. Sadness for their situation and their families stuck in Afghanistan, but also filled with so much joy as we get to meet and build relationships with so many new families.
Afghans have been getting so much attention in the media for obvious reasons, and I am grateful for the outpouring of support for Afghans, but what you may not know is that the US has been resettling Afghans here in Dallas for as long as we have been running our nonprofit that we started almost 20 years ago. Ironically, our first refugee family that we ever “mentored” was an Afghan family back in 2002. They were victims from the war in the 1980s when Russia invaded Afghanistan and this family had to flee to a neighboring country to live as a displaced family until they finally got accepted into the US. They had two young daughters in their family at the time and many years later we attended each of their weddings! How special it is to truly be family with a refugee family and to watch them grow up and succeed in life here in the US. After 2001, the US started receiving more and more families from Afghanistan after the war began, and the US has been resettling families who worked with the US government for years now.
With all of the attention Afghans are getting, I want to take this opportunity to spread the message about refugees in general. Every refugee, from numerous countries come here because they have faced tremendous hardship, similar or worse than what we are seeing on the news that the Afghans are going through. Below is an excerpt from a post I wrote several years ago. As you read, please take the time to process and think about considering mentoring a family, volunteering, or donating to organizations that support refugees.
“What is a refugee? By definition: A refugee is one that flees; a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution. Every war or genocide you have heard about in the last 20 years (Iraq, Afghanistan,Bosnia, Rwanda, Dafur, etc..), many of those people are coming here. Here are the countries that we have worked with: Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Columbia, Cuba, Russia, Mexico, Vietnam, Congo, Somalia, Liberia, Togo, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burma and Nepal. These people are in such great need. These people have suffered hardships that most of us cannot even imagine. They have faced war, murder, starvation, loss of all possessions, rape, genocide, and ethic cleansing. Every family has faced at least one of these. Some families have faced it all. We know countless people who have lost family members. We know children who watched their family members killed in front of them. We know children who have faced starvation. We know a man who lost all of his children and wife and father in a bombing in Afghanistan. We know a man who lost his entire family in Iraq when Saddam gassed the Kurds. We know a man whose wife was raped in front of him. The stories go on and on. These are real stories, and these people have pain that most of us cannot even imagine. These people not only have tremendous physical needs but huge spiritual and emotional needs as well. It’s so difficult for them to adjust to life here. Imagine an African family who have never even seen electricity before, who have lived in a refugee camp in a tent for 15 years, and then come to America with no English or education and are expected to adjust to our society; and they only have 4 to 6 months to do it. They have to learn English, get a job, learn our transportation system, banking system, and pay bills, etc.. Some have never even seen a toilet before! We can only imagine this. To get an idea of what they go through, I would suggest watching the documentary called “God Grew Tired of Us.” It won an academy award. It will give you a great picture of what refugees go through.”
Here is the trailer for this movie. Please watch the movie! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mz01BPBtEwY
Again, thank you so much for the outpouring of support for Afghan refugees and let it be a reminder that all refugees suffer tremendous hardship and are in need of the same attention. Below are some articles about more humanitarian crises around the world and information on the process of how Afghans are coming to the US.
Article from the International Rescue Committee- The top 10 crises the world should be watching in 2021 https://www.rescue.org/article/top-10-crises-world-should-be-watching-2021
For more information on the process of how Afghans are coming to the US