As a response to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, over 80,000 Afghan refugees arrived in America. As the U.S. government and immigration agencies could not handle that tidal wave of humanity, local groups called “Sponsor Circles” stepped up to welcome, resettle and integrate some of these distressed people into our community. One such group, the Afghan Circle of the Hudson Valley, formed in February, and has already taken in two needy families from Afghanistan. The Circle is an all-volunteer effort comprised mainly of retired professionals and others, all active in many community projects and organizations. Since forming, the Circle has created a loose network of a dozen Afghan resettlement groups, religious institutions including churches, mosques and synagogues, local farmers & food pantries, local companies and non-profit entities to assist the families.
Our Circle has found adequate housing, furniture, food, clothing, housewares, health insurance, school for the child, English classes for the adults, drivers licenses and vehicles so they can drive to appointments and work, and much, much more. And we managed to raise the necessary funds to do so. One family that we are assisting escaped from the Taliban after being hunted door-to-door, going on a seven month odyssey to get to America, and ultimately, to the Hudson Valley. They had to flee because the woman was a full OB/GYN MD there and ran a well-known Woman’s Clinic. The other family had to escape due to their involvement in government agencies and the fact that the family ran a woman-owned business. These displaced people lost their jobs, families, friends, country and culture, but are safe now, living with us. The final tasks of the Circle are to help them find jobs and the funds to go to college and vocational training here, so they can become economically self-sufficient and live the American Dream.
Additionally, members of our Circle are now avidly assisting other groups in the resettlement of Afghan refugees stranded inside the USA due to bureaucratic issues. Families now in Northern Virginia, Sacramento and San Diego are being resettled into safe homes and a new future with caring Circles assisting them. Please go to our website – www.afghancirclehudsonvalley.org to learn more about our effort.