Local organization prepares to welcome more Afghan refugees


CLEVELAND – Over the past week, Cleveland has become home to many Afghan refugees. A local organization is working tirelessly to accommodate more groups.

Off Clark Avenue is the American Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. If you walk inside, you’ll find Ahmad Farid packing food for a new family.

“October 10 will be my second birthday here,” said Farid.

Farid has been working as a case manager since February, but two years ago he was on the receiving end of this box.

“Yes. I walked in, it was late at night, my friends came to the airport with my case manager Rachel. Thanks to her for everything she did,” said Farid.

He and his family are from Afghanistan where Farid worked to rebuild his country until things got tense.

“We were teaching, we were teachers there, but our lives were still in danger because of the Taliban, because of the militant forces there,” he said.

So Farid, his wife and two children packed their bags and came to the United States, leaving the rest of his family behind.

“It’s hard, it’s very hard to explain, but it’s good that I’m here and if something happens there I can support them from here,” said Farid.

Not only by supporting his family, but all the refugees who arrive. The United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has been the springboard for acclimating refugees like Farid to a normal life with schools, jobs, and health insurance for over 100 years.

“We are responsible for basic services on arrival. So really prepare things like housing and other preparations for a family’s arrival, ”said Darren T. Hamm, director of the US Committee on Refugees and Immigrants.

For the committee, they usually see one or two families per week, but this week they are considering eight, which is 31 people in total.

“About a month, maybe six weeks ago, with the fall of Kabul, we saw a wave of people fleeing Afghanistan and arriving at US military bases as well as other bases around the world,” he said. Hamm said.

They expect 380 more arrivals over the next year, so everything is on deck. They’ve been accumulating supplies and planning for these families for months.

“We have another warehouse across the street which is occupied by a team of five who are currently preparing the goods,” Hamm said.

One of these families is arriving tonight and the one welcoming them is Farid.

“I will accompany them and stay with them. I’m going to let them feel comfortable, tell them everything will be fine, whatever I told you, I was told when I came, ”said Farid.

Although Farid wishes to be in Afghanistan, he is happy to play a role that helps refugees feel at home.

The American Committee for Refugees and Immigrants can use your help. They tell News 5 that they still need supplies and translators. For more information, click here.

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