Local Heroes: Afghan Circle of the Hudson Valley Helping Asylum-Seekers
When Kaamil (names have been changed) helped provide medical aid to the child-bride of a Taliban leader, she was taking a risk. When the Taliban then took control of Afghanistan last August, she knew her life was in danger. Her family made the decision to flee to the United States. Luckily, the Hudson Valley was there to help.
Afghan Refugees in the Hudson Valley, NY
In 2021, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, threatening the lives of tens of thousands of Afghan families. While initially housed in military bases, they were closed this February, leaving over 80,000 refugees with nowhere to go. That's why the Afghan Circle of the Hudson Valley was formed. From their website:
These new arrivals are waiting for impromptu organizations like our Circle to resettle them. Other Afghans, hunted by the Taliban, came into America through other paths and have no sponsor, no Immigration Agency to assist them, no money, clothing or official papers.
As Warsan Shire said, “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” These refugees, including many former teachers, law enforcement officers, and practitioners in the medical field, escaped persecution from the violent Taliban to start a brand new life in the United States. There are over 250 "circles" currently assisting families across America, but many are right here in the Hudson Valley.
Hudson Valley Citizens Helping Asylum-Seekers
Groups in Woodstock, NY, New Paltz, NY, and others are all pitching in to help with housing, transportation, food, and even English lessons and driver's license applications for these asylum-seekers, some of whom, like Kaamil, needed to flee on a moment's notice to save the lives of themselves and their families. One of the most miraculous details of these circles is that they are entirely community-supported, with no government assistance whatsoever.
How to Help Afghan Refugees in the Hudson Valley, NY
Starting from scratch is never easy, but relying entirely on a brand new community of strangers makes things even more difficult. Hudson Valley residents have been instrumental in assisting these families "start over" now that they have left the looming threats of the Taliban behind. To quote Jorge Ramos, “The greatest nations are defined by how they treat their weakest inhabitants.” You can learn more about the Afghan Circle of the Hudson Valley here, and keep scrolling to check out more organizations that can use your help in the Hudson Valley below.