New Afghan community center provides resources for refugees in Alexandria

More help is on the way for Afghan refugees here in the DC region.

Thursday evening saw the inauguration of a new Women for Afghan Women community center in Alexandria.

The new center’s program manager, Mariam Kakar, says they will connect refugees with the resources they need and adjust to life in the United States.

“There is such a divide, a cultural divide,” Kakar said. “A language barrier, especially for women. As most people know in Afghanistan, women don’t even leave the house without a male escort. Most of them don’t work and then there are a lot of people who came from outlying villages. It’s a completely different environment for them.”

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Women for Afghan Women is a non-profit organization that has existed for over twenty years to help immigrants settle in the United States.

They help provide educational programs, mental health counseling, immigration legal services, and social services such as finding jobs in housing, health care, transportation, and even applying for vouchers. power supply.

The group has a center in New York but has expanded to Virginia since the state has the second largest Afghan population in the country.

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Naheed Samadi Bahram, U.S. Country Director of Women for Afghan Women, told FOX 5 the organization chose Alexandria as the location because many Afghan refugees have been housed in the area.

“Knowing that you are relocating to a state where you have members of your community who can speak the language you speak, you can understand the culture where you come from and also have support at the beginning of the very difficult times of relocation. I think it’s very important for any community not only Afghan but any refugee community,” Bahram said.

Jill E. Washington