Afghan Welcome Home Project of Central Illinois helps provide jobs and housing for refugees
CENTRAL ILLINOIS (Heart of Illinois ABC) - After the fall of Kabul following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in August 2021, a nonprofit group is working to help refugees set up a new life.
Of the more than half-dozen in the area, three former Afghan soldiers are living and working in Bloomington - hoping to get their families over as soon as possible.
Another five are in the Decatur area awaiting their next move, and more could be on the way through the efforts of the Afghan Welcome Home Project of Central Illinois.
The men have gone from India to Germany, to Wisconsin, and finally to Illinois where project leaders are working to get them situated.
A local church is helping pay rent for the three in Bloomington and the project is looking to find work for those who don’t have it yet.
Project leader Ilene Henderson says it can be tough with limited resources and a language barrier.
“These are men that trained and fought - as peers - with members of the U.S. Special Operations forces ... In order to do that, they have a similar level of comprehension, intelligence, skills, etc.”
Project leaders say these men need dental care, driver training and English language courses - all of which cash donations or professional resources can help provide.
Leaders say most importantly, they need legal support - right now, the men are on a temporary residency visa that would force them out of the U.S. in 2023, but Henderson says with the right legal representation, that time could be extended.
For more information on the Afghan Welcome Home Project and ways the public can get involved, visit this link.
Those with additional questions can contact the project leaders:
- Susan Montgomery (217) 864-4487
- Inge Henderson (217) 917-5619
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