Catholic Charities Atlanta helping Afghan refugees

Tens of thousands of Afghans are trying to escape their homeland for safety on U.S. soil.  Some of them will end up living in Atlanta.

Catholic Charities Atlanta is helping them begin new lives. They're bracing for an influx of people over the next few weeks. Some have already arrived.

"We don know how many overall will come through Georgia it's still developing as people are being processed at military bases," said Essence Vinson the Director of Refugee Services with Catholic Charities Atlanta.

Vinson said when refugees arrive they meet them at the airport, often with very little belongings and no knowledge of what to do next.

"We find them apartments, set it up for them, give them clothing and household supplies to start their lives over," said Vinson.

Children are enrolled in school and after-school programs.  Adults learn about the culture and the language and find jobs.

Everyone who is assisted by Catholic Charities Atlanta has helped U.S. Military forces in some capacity. They may have been an interpreter or a guide on a special mission. They've been given Special Immigrant Visas. It's a program created by Congress to provide permanent protection to Afghans affiliated with U.S. missions. Because they assisted the U.S. and its allies, their lives could be in danger if they stay in Afghanistan.

It's not a matter of going to a new country for better opportunities, it's a matter of life or death," said Vinson.

To find out more about how Catholic Charities Atlanta is helping refugees, you can go to their website.

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