The news coming from Afghanistan still tragic, but there is little we can do to reach into Afghanistan and help. However, Afghan refugees are being resettled in our Capital Region along with less reported refugees from Burma and Democratic Republic of Congo. This influx places an added burden on already burdened refugee assistance organizations in our region.
This is where we can help. The ways to help this resettlement are certain, secure, and very important – as a sign of our hospitality, a start for new refugees in building a new life, and a demonstration of Tikkun Olam.
We also were refugees and strangers.
How can you help refugees in the Capital Region? Here are high-need options. Most of these options can be used to assist not only Afghan refugees but others coming to the Capital Region mainly from Burma and Democratic Republic of Congo:
- Resettlement assistance of new arrivals during their first 90 days in the U.S. is organized by the Albany field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). They need you to:
- Purchase items from the USCRI Amazon wish list such as household items, cleaning supplies, and utility carts for new arrivals, who typically walk to the grocery store and laundromat.
- Purchase gift cards for Walmart or grocery store that can be sent to USCRI at 99 Pine St, Suite 101, Albany, NY 12206, Attn: New Arrivals.
- After refugees’ first 90 days, organizations like Refugee and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus (RISSE) pick up and help meet long-term assistance. RISSE helps refugees to learn English, provide childcare, find jobs, fill out forms, read mail, connect with local services and government agencies after USCRI help ends.
- RISSE’s biggest need right now is raising funds to hire extra teachers for childcare and English-language training, upgrade classrooms, and hire more staff for casework. Childcare helps children learn English and adjust to life in the US. RISSE also teaches the adults to read, write, and speak English in three levels of classes. To make a PayPal donation go to their website http://www.risse-albany.org/home/; or send a check to 715 Morris Street, Albany, NY 12208.
- RISSE welcomes volunteers to tutor in adult English, citizenship classes, and volunteer in the Afterschool program. Volunteer@risse-albany.org
- To volunteer as a Family Helper call Ann Krischer, 518-424-6663.