By Emily Drooby
As the Taliban grows stronger each day in Afghanistan, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York is trying to help those fleeing for their life.
“We have already begun that process and we are prepared to do more as the situation evolves,” explained Msgr. Kevin Sullivan. He’s the executive director of Catholic Charities Archdiocese Of New York.
The non-profit has already assisted 13 refugees, a small number compared to the thousands of Afghan families who risked their lives to help the U.S. military.
“This group of people really gave their lives for an effort that we led for over 20 years,” explained Director of Catholic Charities Immigrant and Refugee Services, Mario Russell.
Three families were ripped from their homes, Mario said.
“They aren’t looking to leave their country, they aren’t looking to leave their neighborhoods, their homes, their work, their families, their friends,” he said. “It’s incredibly stressful, incredibly painful.”
Msgr. Sullivan said every person who needs help should be treated fairly.
“They’re individuals that needed to be treated with dignity and respect and holistically to whatever we can do to enable them to survive and to thrive in their new home,” he said.
The help they provide varies, it can be anything from employment to education.
“I think the circumstances under which people are leaving are so much more confusing, so much more frankly chaotic,” explained Mario. “People have typically been processing for months if not years. These families are moving much more quickly so I think the dislocation is profound.”
In the past five years, Catholic Charities has helped nearly 40 Afghan families and others from more than 100 countries.