What’s going on?
Many in the DASH community have reached out to ask how DASH is supporting those who have been displaced by the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. As of right now, those who are coming to the US have arrived either with refugee status or on a Special Immigrant Visa for those who aided the US in the war. Over 98 different countries are accepting Afghani refugees and those coming to the US are temporarily being cared for on US military bases in Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin and New Jersey. Those who are vulnerable to Taliban violence include women and children, Christians and practitioners of minority religions, journalists, comedians, musicians, human rights activists, those in the LGBTQ community, and people who aided the US government with military efforts over the past 20 years. Recent reporting estimates that 122,300 people have been evacuated from the country since the end of July. Though many have been able to escape, there undoubtedly remain many who were unable to get to an evacuation site or who had to go back into hiding due to the increasing threats and violence. We anticipate that in the weeks and months to come, there will be many who escape as individuals or small groups without the support of UNHCR and international resettlement agencies. They will then need to seek asylum and may find themselves in need of and eligible for DASH services. They may flee to neighboring countries, utilize an existing US Visa and arrive through a US airport. Alternatively, they may navigate migrant routes through South and Central America and arrive at a US port of entry.
How are we preparing?
We are actively recruiting hosts to begin our interview and equipping process to expand our current housing capacity. We are looking for 10-15 individuals or families to become trained and ready to meet this need. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an informational call or check out our website for more information. Additionally, this October, 10 staff members, leaders, and members of our Board of Directors are visiting El Paso to network with non-profits, shelters and churches to strengthen and develop new partnerships and grow our referral networks. We have also approved an ambitious plan for 2022 that will allow us to grow our capacity and continue to raise awareness within our community.
What can you do right now?
There are many organizations both locally and nationally that are supporting refugees. A few that DASH Network has worked alongside include World Relief, Refugee Services of Texas, and Catholic Charities. In addition, LIRS has provided this form for anyone interested in helping with urgent needs in Fort Worth.
In times of crisis, there is always an abundance of practical needs to be met – and we should step up and do that work. But something that often gets overlooked in the frenzy, is the need to pause and listen to those who are experiencing forced displacement, to honor their humanity, to hold space for complicated stories without nicely wrapped up endings, and to respond to the stated needs vs. the needs that we perceive.
DASH Network has been hard at work all summer partnering with Bond Studios to produce a mini-documentary featuring the story of our dear friend, Ahmed, a journalist who fled from Kurdistan, and his experience navigating the US asylum system. It’s easy to meet someone in DASH and see them through the lens of their immigration status. This production explores the life, family and background of Ahmed and allows the audience to see and celebrate his humanity. His story is powerful and heartbreaking and beautiful and he has been wanting to tell it for years. We are so thrilled to give him a platform to share and we hope you will join us on September 16th to be a part and hear it!
You can register for free right HERE.
What to keep in mind when responding to this need:
- Please be willing to carry the burden of this crisis and support the organizations assisting even when the news cycle has moved on
- There are similar horrors and chaos unfolding in communities around the world that will never get the media coverage that we saw out of Afghanistan for one reason or another. Please be willing to support local agencies and nonprofits with caring for the displaced people they are serving, even if they are not from Afghanistan
- The exhaustion, the grief, the heaviness of this world – we feel it too. The residents of DASH network are no strangers to long-suffering. And as a result, our ministry has become one of suffering with. The beautiful call to believers is to be a part of the healing in this world. We can eliminate suffering when we can, but the harder work might actually be walking alongside and carrying one another’s burdens when we can’t. We are leaning on God during these hard times as our hope and peace and resting in the promise of his goodness.
- “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 37-39