The Refugee Welcome Network (RWN) of Washington County continues to actively work with six Afghan refugee families, with a goal of helping them become stable and self-sufficient and ensuring they feel welcomed in our community. Three families are documented, seeking green cards, and the others are all asylum seekers working on documentation. Three families are close to losing housing as CAC emergency rental assistance has run out 3 months earlier than expected. All of the families need jobs to become stable and productive, as they all very much want to be.
Housing: Does a church have a parish house that could be used for housing for a family? Or does anyone have a house or apartment sitting empty that could be used to house a family for free or low-cost? Currently families are paying $850+ for apartments they simply can’t afford (nor can the RWN).
Family Highlights & Jobs:
- Ahmad Shah & Mary are documented with work permits. They have four children ranging from 3 to 10 years old and Mary is pregnant. Ahmad has a software testing background and his English is pretty good.
- Dr. Fawad is documented and worked as a pediatrician in Afghanistan. While he can’t practice medicine in the U.S. yet, he hopes to find a job in the medical field, but will take just about any work right now. His English is fair. His wife, Nargis is already working, but can’t earn enough for them to survive.
- Meraj & Sabera are seeking asylum and won’t be eligible for a work permit until 6 months after it is filed, but they are desperate for any work they can get. They have two small sons, ages 1 and 4. Meraj was a local mayor in Afghanistan. He loves painting and is very good at it; he’s working on a temporary private painting job right now, but needs more work, and he also wants to give back by volunteering in a local park. Sabera was a teacher and women’s rights advocate in Afghanistan and loves to read and study. Both are working on their English, but have a ways to go.
- Aref & Freba are seeking asylum and also won’t have a work permit until 6 months after their complicated paperwork is filed. They have a son and daughter, ages 1 and 3. Aref was a journalist and was also, at one time, involved in directing construction. He likes to sew and says he is a tailor who taught sewing to students. Friba is a nurse who had worked in a hospital. Aref is currently helping on a farm one day per week, and Friba isn’t working at all. They both are eager to work. Their English is improving, but have a ways to go.
Other needs: There are several small children who have an ongoing need for diapers. Grocery gift cards are a big help, and the families would also like to buy some halal meat, which is not available in our food pantries (Alkhair Halal Meat and Groceries on Dual Hwy is a good source). All of the families have international drivers licenses and would like cars as public transportation is limited. Donations toward financial needs can be made through the HARC website and designated RWN.
If you can help with any of these needs, please contact Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-842-4272 or Pam at email@example.com.