Make your home page

Indianapolis group helps Afghan evacuees resettle in area

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A family that fled Afghanistan with their 9-month-old child is now here in Indianapolis. They’re among the thousands being relocated to the United States.

“So, we had to act pretty quickly and on a Saturday and Sunday night to get ready for them, got a hotel,” said Cole Varga, executive director with Exodus Refugee Immigration.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan led to panicked residents rushing to jump on a plane at the Kabul airport. Now groups including Exodus Refugee Immigration are welcoming some of these refugees to Indianapolis, where they’ll resettle.

“Perhaps their uncle lives in Indianapolis — then they’re probably predestined to come here — or they have someone who has a relative,” Varga said.

“We’ll just kind of have to wait and see and be on our toes ready to welcome whoever we can,” Varga said.

Inside Virginia’s Fort Lee military base, officials are processing incoming Afghan evacuees before being relocated. According to Rachel Van Tyle, director of legal services at Exodus Refugee Immigration, those who arrive will receive a Special Immigrant Visa, which allows them to get a social security card.

“Get the kids enrolled in school and just kind of this permanency that they get with that status, I think, helps hopefully decrease some of the anxiety that they feel being kind of plopped into a new place,” Tyle said.

Then the group will also provide them social and medical services, English language training and much more.

“Help them with rental costs while they’re looking for those jobs, help them with mental health access, with volunteer placements so they have their first friends in the United States so really wraparound services for those initial months,” Varga said.

Exodus is asking the community to donate things, such as couches, dinner tables and other household items to help them transition into their new home. The organization also says they’re planning to send two staff members to Fort Lee, where they’ll be helping with processing.