!! UPDATE - We Have a new Family !!
Thanks to all who helped setup a home for the family of Sangar and Asma. Sangar has now found work in California where his cousin lives however, and the family is in the process of moving. Asma wanted everyone to know that "we will never forget your kindness."
Matt & Fiorella have been working with another family who have recently moved here and have asked our help in sponsoring this family. Mohammed & Zaiton have 8 children with another on the way! Mohammed (Father), Zaiton (Mother), BOYS - Tasirullah 18, Shahibodin 16, Navid 14, Shooeb 7, GIRLS - Mobeena 12, Rizwana 9, Maryana 4, Aryana 1
We have created a new sign-up genius and need your help setting up a 3 bedroom apartment for this family. They will be moving into the apartment in early September and have virtually nothing, so anything you can contribute will be appreciated.
As we learn more about their ongoing needs we will update everyone on continuing ways we can minister to this family.
Thank you so much for your help!
Carolyn & Steve, Johnelle & Jon, Kathy & Andy
What it means for OBC to sponsor a family
- Completely setup their apartment(s) with everything needed for bedrooms, kitchen, living areas, and bathrooms.
- Assist with trucks and labor to move into the apartment
- Stock the kitchen with basic items
- Provide a Halal meal from a local restaurant for the first night.
Please review our Opportunities for GIVING page to see a more complete list of items we are likely to need when we set up the apartment(s) for our family. If you have items you think may be needed, please hold onto them for a few more weeks if possible while we determine exactly what will be needed. If you MUST have an item picked up prior to the time we move our family, we will make arrangements to pick up your donation and store it until needed. Once the family has been assigned, we will have a short window to finish collecting the essentials to outfit an apartment and stock it with an initial supply of food.
- Check on the family 2-3 times a week for the first month
- Assist with transportation – giving rides to appointments, provide bicycles, donation of an inexpensive but reliable vehicle, if possible,
- Coordinate with Catholic Charities case worker and fill in the gaps such as:
- Getting kids registered and supplied for school – paper, pencils, notebooks, backpacks, computer or tablet if possible
- Getting govt id in order to get a job
- Assistance finding a job
- ESL & Cultural training
- Assist with applying for legal asylum, which they must do within 1 year of being in the US. Legal costs for this can be between $3,500 - $6,000 per person, unless some pro bono services can be secured.
!!! IMPORTANT !!!
NO SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS SHOWING REFUGEES, THEIR NAMES OR LOCATIONS!
Many if not most of these refugees still have family in Afghanistan and we don't want to do anything that might incite retribution against those family members that are still in harm’s way. Unfortunately, there are also those locally who aren't happy to welcome these refugees and might seek to harm them as well. Therefore we will not be posting the location or names of the refugees on this site, and ask that you not repeat the information if it is shared with you, and certainly that you don't post it on social media.
aFGHAN Refugee Process OVERVIEW
The final Afghan refugee families destined for Oklahoma arrived in mid-February, totaling 1000 for OKC, 550 for Tulsa and 300 in Stillwater, making Oklahoma the state welcoming the 3rd highest number of refugees in the nation. As of January 14, 2022, 324 individuals have been moved into permanent housing in Oklahoma City, with the remaining families temporarily housed in hotels until permanent housing can be found.
When refugees left Afghanistan, they were transported to military bases across the US where they were vetted using biometric and biographic screening conducted by the federal government, and received vaccinations against measles, COVID-19, etc. Some assisted the American war effort and have special immigrant visa cases that allow them to gain permanent U.S. status. Others have been granted U.S. entry because they were at-risk in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, including women, children, journalists, activists, humanitarian aid workers and American embassy staff. Most evacuees have entered the U.S. on humanitarian grounds under “parole”, which allows them to be in the US for 2 years and apply for immigration status within one year.
Catholic Charities is the primary NGO leading the humanitarian efforts in Oklahoma and managing the federal funds allocated to the effort, with assistance also provided by The Spero Project and numerous other volunteer agencies. Catholic Charities conducts intakes with arrivals, finds temporary and permanent housing, and works to match them with employers. Of the families who have been settled in permanent housing so far, the head of the household of 90% of them are now employed. Federal programs are providing 90 days of financial assistance for refugee families with the state of Oklahoma providing an additional 9 months of support for housing and living expenses as they work towards citizenship and financial independence.
OBC is planning to help on two fronts, one by sponsoring families as they are moved into housing and adjust to life in Oklahoma City and two, by supporting Backyard Missions as they continue to minister to refugees across the state. OBC plans to sponsor 1 family initially, and then as we learn the process and how best to meet the needs of these families, we'll determine how we want to expand our ministry.
Other Ways to Serve & Learn
Also review our Opportunities to SERVE page to see ways you can begin to serve immediately. Our Opportunities to LEARN page will direct you towards several resources available to help you learn about things to consider when interacting with people from a different culture and faith, who have also experienced significant trauma.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to gather information and share it with our church family.