Oklahoma has welcomed the first group of refugees from Afghanistan this week.
The state looks to resettle about 1,800 people that will be here well before the end of the year.
These new families initially need a lot of support, and there is a flurry of activity happening right now with resettlement groups to provide it.
State leaders opened their arms to people fleeing Afghanistan after the U.S. military withdrew from the region and left allies there in danger.
“We’re excited to welcome them and show them the Oklahoma Standard,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt.
But what does it take to start a new life — a world away?
“We have been overwhelmed with the response from our friends, from partners in the community, and even just from people who heard about this issue and wanted to reach out to help,” said Veronica Laizure, civil rights director at the Council for American Islamic Relations of Oklahoma.
A flood of support has brought clothes, hygiene supplies and more to the CAIR of Oklahoma office.
“Many of them are coming here with very few possessions, sometimes what they can carry in a small suitcase or a bag,” she said.
The need is high, but so is community support.
“What you’re really looking at here is the kindness and the generosity of your Oklahoma community,” said Laizure.
Some key areas of need are pro bono legal work, medical services, English language training, and lodging.
Catholic charities coordinate a lot of the resettlement efforts in Oklahoma. Check out their website here if you want to contribute. Or CAIR of Oklahoma.
This is one of the largest refugee resettlement efforts in the states history, and its happening in a short period of time. All 1800 new Oklahomans are expected to be here well before the end of the year.