by Monique Lopez, FOX 11 News Friday, September 10th 2021
FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WLUK) — The Fox Valley is now preparing to be a home to Afghan refugees, and local agencies are stepping up to help.
It’s still unknown when Afghanistan refugees will arrive in the Fox Valley and how many there will be, but, regardless, World Relief Fox Valley is getting ready to welcome them with open arms.
“When we have the opportunity to welcome people, one of the first things they say is, ‘we’re safe,’ so we know that we’re welcoming them into a safe environment, and then helping to establish, so they have much opportunity and can really develop full and abundant lives here,” said World Relief Fox Valley Director Tami McClaughlin.
This isn’t the World Relief Fox Valley’s first rodeo. Since 2012, the organization has helped refugees make the Fox Valley their home, but with that comes a lot of work.
“These people are leaving their homeland — the country that they love, some at a moment’s notice,” McClaughlin said. “We heard that after the bombing at the Kabul Airport, people were coming with only the shirts on their backs.”
As a team, World Relief Fox Valley will help line up landlords, interpreters and make sure refugees have all their basic needs tended to.
It’s after that when other agencies and organizations will play a role in making a difference in the lives of these refugees.
“When we put ourselves in their shoes, we see challenges to be very daunting,” said public relations secretary for the Masjid Qamar Oshkosh Mosque Khurram Ahmad. “Sometimes it’s very frustrating, from a refugee standpoint.”
Something as simple as grocery shopping, or going to see a doctor, or even getting a driver’s license to us, can be a world of hurdles in the eyes of refugees.
That’s where the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community comes together to help.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Oshkosh will be assisting Afghanistan refugees coming to the Fox Valley but, in actuality, the community here has been helping all refugees for years.
“The families that just moved in, they had everything, but we went and brought them basic spices, basic meat, you know, those groceries,” Ahmad said. “Then take them to the next step to say, ‘okay, now, how do you fish for yourself?’”
These organizations have taken on the selfless task of assisting refugees at a time they need it most, but McClaughlin says it’s the refugees who have given something to her.
“Working with refugees has made me realize how much I take for granted, how much I have, how privileged my life is, so I think it’s given me a sense of appreciation for what I have,” she said.
World Relief Fox Valley says it’s prepared to help up to 100 Afghan refugees in the Appleton and Oshkosh communities.