As thousands try to flee in the wake of the Taliban take-over of Afghanistan, more than 7,000 miles away Catholic Charities of Louisville’s Migration and Refugee Services program is preparing to start resettling Afghan refugees.
Catholic Charities will host an online session at noon Sept. 2 to inform people in the Archdiocese of Louisville of ways they can assist with the efforts.
Colin Triplett, resettlement director of the Migration and Refugee Services program, said the program is not certain about the number of refugees that might be resettled here. But he does know that when the decision is made to bring Afghan refugees to Louisville, it will happen quickly. The first refugees are expected to start arriving in September or October, he said.
“Anyone interested or would like to know how we’re responding and what we’re seeing are welcome” to participate in the information session, he said.
The session will include someone from Catholic Charities’ immigration legal services to answer questions about the vetting process for refugees and how volunteers can help.
Individuals can register for the online program by visiting cclou.org/afghanistan/.
Triplett said the agency is in need of the community’s support.
“We expect we’ll need a lot more resources than we have. We need donations to ramp up our capacity to serve,” he said.
The Migration and Refugee Services program expects to need:
- Monetary donations.
- Furniture and other household items.
- Community partners who can provide transportation and housing.
- Volunteers to work in different capacities, including offering language services.
“We’re really looking to the community to support us,” said Triplett. “We’ve had such an outpouring of interest. It’s a bad situation, but when you get inquiries from people in parishes and the wider community, it lets you know you have the support.”
Triplett said watching the crisis in Afghanistan unfold on the television screen has been “tough.” Catholic News Service reported Aug. 16 that turmoil followed as U.S. troops began withdrawing from Afghanistan. The Islamic extremist group, the Taliban, seized control of the country in a matter of days after the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
The U.S. government intends to conclude its 20-year mission in Afghanistan by Aug. 31.
“When you’re watching something unfold that’s affecting the family members of the people you’ve come to know, it’s tough and hard to process,” said Triplett. Louisville is already home to about 80 Afghan families resettled by Catholic Charities in the past, he noted.
Others in the community have voiced their support for those fleeing the turmoil in Afghanistan.
Mayor Greg Fischer’s office is mobilizing to aid Afghan women and girls.
The mayor’s office announced Aug. 19 that along with the Women’s Cup soccer leadership team and several community partners, a donation of $40,000 has been made to a fundraising effort benefitting local and national organizations supporting women and girls in Afghanistan.
Catholic Charities and Kentucky Refugee Ministries will share $20,000 to help efforts to resettle refugees from Afghanistan, said the press release from the mayor’s office.
The city hosted the Women’s Cup soccer event the weekend of Aug. 21. Fischer said that while it’s an honor to host the games, “as a compassionate and welcoming city, we must recognize the devastating scenes unfolding in Afghanistan, especially the humanitarian crisis facing Afghan women and girls.”
“We recognize that quick action is needed to support those on the frontlines helping Afghan women, as well as our local refugee-serving organizations,” he added.
Triplett said it’s great to see different sectors of the community reaching out to offer support.
Individuals can donate to this effort through a Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-womens-cup-for-afghanistan. All the funds will go to Catholic Charities, Kentucky Refugee Ministries and UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and empowerment of women. More than $56,000 has been raised towards a goal of $100,000 so far.
To donate to Catholic Charities, visit https://cclou.org/donate/.