Afghanistan Refugees Arrive in St. Louis
Almost 20 years after troops first landed in Afghanistan, the last plane has left with Afghan refugees, some of whom are headed to the Gateway city. The United States has been at war in Afghanistan since the devastating attacks on September 11, 2001, that shocked the nation. Just days before the 20th anniversary of the attacks, the Taliban declared the restoration of their Islamic Emirate. The new government places core hard-line leaders in top positions that exclude women and members of the Shiite minority, belying its earlier assurances that it would be representative of all Afghans, according to CNN. Women and members of the Shiite minority are being discriminated against and not getting the opportunities others are getting. This sparked one of the most massive evacuations in history with more than 117,000 American and Afghan refugees being evacuated and those numbers are only growing.
Now that refugees are coming to America, they are trying to settle down and find somewhere to create a new life. Many of them have come to St. Louis, with the first ones having arrived on August 13th. Mayor Tishaura Jones says there could be upwards of 1,000 Afghans coming to our city. We have seen this before when thousands moved here in the Bosnian immigration. Some of them are coming to St. Louis so we need to be gracious hosts and make them feel welcome and safe here, but how can we make sure they have a smooth transition to life in St. Louis and make a home here? Here's how.
The International Institute of St. Louis has covered short-term housing and is finding jobs. They are trying to connect refugees with English classes, health care check-ups, and mental health counseling. The Institute is helping the Afghan refugees in abundance, but there is still so much they need and we can do for them. The Afghans need clothing, food, and other necessities. One Webster University sophomore, Fahima Band Ali, has started a Go-Fund-Me page to get these necessities to the refugees. Ali moved to St. Louis from Afghanistan in 2017 and claims this cause is "very near and dear to my heart." These refugees have left everything they know and love to come here to work towards a better life, so we need to do everything possible to help them. Along with donating clothes, shoes, toiletries, and other necessities, they need the community's support. As Americans, we must help others achieve the same freedoms we are granted, so let's join together and help. You can donate money through Ali’s Go-Fund-Me or almost any site about the Afghan refugees. The International Institute of St. Louis is asking for cleaning supplies, clothes, money, and many other things. You can drop these donations off at the restaurant the Copper Pig on Macklind Avenue. Their hours are 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is time to step up, we have the opportunity to help make someone else’s life better, so why not take it?