Columbus, OH

Columbus Creating Funds to Help Afghans

Liz Fe Lifestyle

The Columbus City Council on Monday created the Afghan Neighbors Rental Assistance Fund (ANRAF), a fund meant to help Afghans who are coming to Columbus to secure jobs and housing.

The fund is working with Community Refugees and Immigration Services (CRIS) and US Together Columbus so that the 450 Afghans coming to Columbus will be able to get assistance securing employment and housing. The city council said that with housing being an immediate need, getting approved for housing has become a barrier for Afghan Nationals.

Noorgul Dada started the non-profit group Hidayah Institute to collect donations for humanitarian efforts for the people of Afghanistan. The Institute focuses on youth development, healthcare, and aid distribution to widows and orphans of developing nations that need help.

His nephew, Khalid Dada, is an OSU student and president of the Muslim Student’s Association on campus. The family has loved ones trapped in Kabul, trying to escape the violence happening there. They’re trying to do all that they can to get the word out and send aid so that their family and others can make it to safety.

They’ve done rallies in Columbus and reached out to other organizations to help refugees with legal paperwork to go to safer places. Noorgul Dada said that he started this non-profit organization because he had the opportunity to give back to others and wants to be able to help as many families suffering in Afghanistan as he can.

He said that his family and friends fear for their safety and future with the Taliban in charge. Dada said he has been researching and working along with others to find ways to help.

“I have so much family and even more friends, my first cousins, my mom’s brothers, uncles, their kids, all of them are there looking for any way out. We are looking for them to get out, any way out. We are working with top officials, doing application forms, filling out spreadsheets,” he said.

His student group at OSU has held rallies and said that they are raising money for humanitarian aid. They’d like the president to ensure security at the airport, horrified by the deaths of the U.S service members and people in Afghanistan in August.

The Taliban is a political group that wants to impose strict Islamic ruling in Afghanistan. In the summer of 2021, the Taliban began directing direct assaults on multiple urban areas. On August 6, 2021, the Taliban captured the capital of southern Nimruz Province. After that, provincial capitals began to fall rapidly. On August 15, they captured the last safe capital and took control of the presidential palace.

The Taliban takeover of the country could once again turn Afghanistan into a terrorist safe haven. The takeover also threatens to reverse advances made in securing the rights of women and girls. Increasing internal instability, a mass exodus of refugees, and a growing humanitarian crisis could have regional ramifications as neighboring countries respond.

The last time the Taliban were in power, they barred women and girls from taking jobs or going to school, and essentially made them prisoners in their own homes. After the U.S invasion in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, many rallied for bringing women’s rights to the country. Over two decades, the U.S spent more than $780 million to promote women’s rights in Afghanistan. Girls now make up around 40% of students in the country.

Once it was finalized for the U.S troops to pull out of the country, people were worried about what the fate of women would be if there were no American troops there.

Under U.S occupation, education opportunities, cultural shifts, employment and healthcare have benefitted some and barely affected others, especially in rural areas. In those places, some of the war’s most brutal chapters occurred with many civilians dead and livelihoods devastated. Often, women’s opinions are unclear in these parts.

The Taliban taking control of Afghanistan brings lots of uncertainty for what the future will hold. With no U.S troops there anymore to help protect the citizens, the rights for equality that were fought for over the last two decades will likely diminish.

Now more than ever people in Afghanistan need help, which is why the fundraising efforts in Columbus are so important. They can help families like the Dada’s get reunited with their family once again or at least know that they’re safe. Putting funds in place to try and help the Afghans who are traveling here is important so that they’re able to fit in better while moving to a better area. Having jobs and housing available for them is important now more than ever.

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