FRESH MEADOWS, Queens (PIX11) – It’s been almost one year since the Taliban took back control of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of United States troops. Afghan refugees in the U.S. are still being provided critical support and services, and one organization in Queens is helping in that effort tremendously.
Employees of Women for Afghan Women handed out hundreds of household and personal items to Afghan refugees and their families at a site in Fresh Meadows.
Maryam is one of them and she credits the organization for keeping her on her feet after having to start from scratch in New York.
“I found Women for Afghan Women the best organization that they are helping women and girls,” Maryam said.
The group has been providing educational, immigration, and social services to the refugees for more than 20 years – even before 9/11 – but after the Taliban takeover last year, they are working in overdrive.
Naheed Samadi Bahram is the U.S. country director for the organization. “Having over 80,000 Afghan evacuees resettling in the United States, our course of work has changed totally,” Bahram said.
They still provide the same support, but they now offer temporary housing in partnership with Airbnb and ground transportation with Uber.
Their legal services for immigration have increased by 300% since August. Afghan refugees were granted humanitarian parole visas, but it only lasts two years. With more than 20 pro bono attorneys now at the organization, they are aiding in applications for asylum cases.
Maryam has applied for asylum and has utilized the organization’s additional resources. “They helped me make my resume,” Maryam added. “I was looking for jobs, they helped me with that.”
The organization wants the refugees to know that they have their best interests at heart.
“We are here to tell them that we are here to support them and make sure that they are not on the street, that they have housing, they’re not going to end up homeless,” Bahram said.
Bahram added that Women for Afghan Women will continue providing support until it is no longer needed and the refugees are independent. Until then, they are happily lending a helping hand.