Recruiting Community Volunteers to Assist in the Relocation of Afghan Refugees

Jun 29, 2022 (FOCUSGUILDS2015)

In December an entire group comprised of Vietnamese Americans welcomed a displaced Afghan family to their Seattle community, offering an apartment that was furnished, a well-stocked refrigerator, and continuous assistance. The Vietnamese Americans, who were at one-time refugees themselves, are the first volunteers to join the sponsor Circle program to Afghan Refugees A new system to assist in the resettlement of the thousands of Afghan exiled people who reside on military bases across the United States.

The nine agencies for resettlement that are funded by federal dollars to assist refugees to be resettled across the U.S. “don’t have the capability to assist all Afghan refugees on bases” states Sasha Chanoff F04 N04. “There was a need and there is an urgent need to remove people from bases as soon as is possible.”

The idea of asking willing citizens to accommodate the refugees makes sense for Chanoff as the CEO and founder of RefugePoint RefugePoint, a Cambridge Massachusetts-based organization that is committed to implementing lasting solutions for people who have the greatest vulnerability to refugees around the globe. The organization was a part of the Sponsor Circle Program in October and has been helping to develop the program that was created in October by the State Department and partners in the Community Sponsorship Hub.

Around 75,000 Afghans are temporarily housed at the American base from the time that U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan in August of last year, bringing to an end the 20-year-long involvement in Afghanistan. In late January, around 10,000 Afghans were still on bases, waiting for the permanent return of their families.

It is a private program. Sponsor Circle Program, which is private, connects displaced Afghans with an organization, or circle comprised of five volunteers who are willing to host for a minimum of 90 days, assisting with the essentials of settling into the new country, for free to the refugees. “The sponsor circles must come up with a plan of action prior to being approved to proceed,” Chanoff says. Chanoff expects at minimum 150 circles to be welcoming Afghan refugees to their communities by February mid-February and adds “it may begin to expand rapidly following the fact.”

Another non-profit, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services is a training organization for sponsors prior to the arrival of their families. “There’s instruction on psychological health care,” Chanoff explains. “There’s training on what expectations you’d like to establish with others regarding the kind of care you’ll offer.”

RefugePoint personnel play an important part in the program, such as working on bases for the military to find Afghans interested in participating in Sponsor Circle Program. Sponsor Circle Program, explaining the process and assisting those interested to join. RefugePoint is also able to connect sponsors with Afghans and raises funds: Although it is true that the State Department initiated the Sponsor Circle Program, the agency does not fund it.

In Seattle In Seattle, Vietnamese Americans who formed a sponsor circle approached members of the Afghan residents if they had of any Afghan refugees living in bases located in the U.S. They discovered that one did know someone, and The Sponsor Circle Program relocated that person and their family members to Seattle under its supervision. In order to do this, the group was vetted for security reasons and then educated on best practices for resettlement. Its

The group agreed to offer basic necessities like food and shelter they raised $2,275 to each of the displaced Afghan they supported.

The program’s leadership is attempting to recruit new sponsor circles and pondering what the program could look like in the future. Even after Afghan refugees are relocated, Chanoff says, it could play an important part in settling refugees from different parts of the world to the United States, to increase the ability of the United States to assist those who can’t return home.

Alongside RefugePoint and the other coalition partners of the Sponsor Circle Program for Afghan refugees include as well as The Community Sponsorship Hub, the International Rescue Committee, and Integrated Refugee & Immigration Services.

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