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Delawareans have helped make resettlement for Afghan refugees much smoother

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Delaware Public Media
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Delaware has welcomed the most refugees at once with 10 families coming from Afghanistan in October.

Many families have arrived in the First State after fleeing from Afghanistan. And they’ve been welcomed by over a hundred volunteers and other community members.

Jewish Family Services of Delaware Chief Strategy Officer Rosi Crosby says 41 people that have come to the state have made great progress in integrating into the community.

She adds the process can take a long time.

“Wait wait, it’s only been eight or nine weeks, like, hold on,” said Crosby. “You can’t do everything in eight or nine weeks. Please, let’s set some realistic expectations. But for what we’ve accomplished in that time I think is remarkable and very much appreciated.”

She says it’s really shown how important volunteers and training is to refugee resettlement, and it’d be much more difficult without community support.

Currently, JFS isn’t planning on welcoming any more Afghan refugees until at least March, when they’ll reexamine their options. Crosby says around 30,000 refugees are still waiting on military bases for a placement.

Crosby says her organization has received more than enough physical donations, and now they’re asking for monetary help instead.

“Families now want the feeling of doing for themselves,” she said. “And while they don’t have the funds to do it for themselves yet they certainly have the desire.”

Crosby says she’s taking a 16 year old refugee to Target with a donated gift card so she could pick out her own backpack, just like any teenager would want.

JFS,which manages all refugee resettlement in the first state, is also still seeking more volunteers to help incoming families.

Crosby says other resettlement efforts haven’t stopped, as more families from Somalia and Vietnam have arrived since, and they need volunteers to help them as they learn how to navigate our country.

She says Delaware has been amazing in offering its support to these families, and her organization is grateful for everything that’s been done to make the First State more welcoming for these people.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.