The world has watched in dismay at the events taking place in Afghanistan in the recent weeks. As the United States prepares to welcome Afghan refugees, it is clear that Afghan families may have adjustment issues that are not properly addressed during the resettlement process. Consequently, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) has formed the Afghan Refugee Task Force (ARTF) to look after the unmet needs of Afghan families who will be resettled in the Chicago area. There is a need for community social service agencies, mosques, health centers, food pantries and civil rights organizations to participate.
Currently, CIOGC is in discussions with State Department representatives to identify a role for the community in the long-term resettlement of Afghan families. According to the press release, the scope of services to be provided by resettlement agencies as well as service gaps will be identified. Doing so will facilitate any duplicate efforts and offer services needed by arriving families.
"I saw how much the community stepped up to help the Syrian refugees, and I wanted to pay it forward by helping the Afghan refugees and to bring the community together to welcome our new friends," says Suzanne Akhras, CIOGC Board Member and Taskforce Lead.
Thus far, the first steps taken include the following:
- The formation of the Afghan Refugee Task Force to help coordinate efforts of participating organizations and individuals. Four subcommittees have been activated. Here is the link to participate in one or more of these committees: https://forms.gle/nyjaHFwdXZvgZW4v9
- Activate Afghan Relief Helpline: 847-737-1785 to be accessible to Afghan families in need.
- Establishment of Link for donations for Afghan relief https://www.ciogc.org/donate/. Please indicate or select the category: “Afghan Relief Support”.
Through collective efforts, CIOGC is confident in providing relief.