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How to Help Afghan Refugees in Chicago and Beyond

By August 20, 2021January 21st, 2022Resources

Donate money or volunteer to support in-need Afghan refugee families escaping the Taliban

Afghan, refugee, Chicago, helpIllustration by Cha Pornea
By August 20, 2021January 21st, 2022Resources

Donate money or volunteer to support in-need Afghan refugee families escaping the Taliban

More than 18 million people in Afghanistan are in urgent need of humanitarian aid following the United States military pulling out of the country and the collapse of the Afghan government. The Taliban’s takeover of provinces across the country has caused Afghans to flee their homes as they try to escape immediate danger from the new regime.

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Borderless Magazine’s Diane Bou Khalil spoke about the situation with Sayeda Qader, cofounder of the Chicago-based Ketab Relief Organization, which is dedicated to providing relief to and amplifying the voices of Afghans. She says that mainstream media is not accurately showing what is happening to internally displaced Afghans and those trying to flee the country. Her own family in Afghanistan had been waiting at the Kabul airport for 29 hours trying to get on a flight.

“They haven’t been able to make it past the gate to the airport because there are so many people. You’re standing there and you can’t move. And the crowd just keeps pushing you further and further,” said Qader in an Instagram Live interview. “There are mothers and fathers and kids being injured because there’s a stampede. So what people are doing is they’re taking their babies and passing them toward the gate, and U.S. soldiers are picking them up and putting them on the other side of the gate so they can come to the United States eventually.”


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Plans are already underway to resettle Afghan refugees across the United States, in Canada and elsewhere, and grassroots efforts are calling for aid to help these families adjust to foreign environments. Emergency protests demanding that the United States take in more refugees are happening around the country, including one in Chicago this Sunday at Federal Plaza (219 S. Dearborn St.) led by local Afghans.

Below, Borderless Magazine crowdsourced suggestions of how to help Afghan refugees in Chicago and elsewhere as they resettle, as well as those still trying to leave Afghanistan. Afghans looking for legal resources can consult the International Refugee Assistance Project, which has various guides on how to relocate safely to the U.S. as well as a list of immigration service providers and attorneys.

Know of any nonprofits or groups providing essential services to Afghan refugees that we should add? Reach out to us at

Take action in Chicago:

  • Learn how to co-sponsor a refugee family by getting in touch with RefugeeOne, or donate to support their programs, which include English language training and workforce development
  • Support Agna Ghar, which has been advocating for survivors of gender-based violence in Afghanistan and Iraq to be included in the Priority 2 category in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program
  • Donate to the Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance, which will partner with resettlement agencies and refugee service providers to support new arrivals
  • Volunteer at the Free Store run by Refugee Community Connection, which helps families ease their transition to the city by providing them with basic needs. The group focuses on Special Immigrant Visa holders, who have worked with the U.S. military, often as interpreters

Support the resettlement of Afghan families in other areas:

Non-monetary ways to help: