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How to Help Afghan Refugees in Chicago and Beyond

By August 20, 2021September 30th, 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, 2021September 30th, 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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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:

  • Ketab Relief is organizing a GoFundMe to provide food packages, temporary housing, and financial assistance to families that have fled from the fighting to Kabul.
  • The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security is distributing funds to support humanitarian visas for and the immediate evacuation of high-risk Afghan women. Email GIWPS public affairs director Sarah Rutherford at to find out more
  • Women for Afghan Women, which supports survivors of gender-based violence, is raising funds to evacuate thousands of its clients, staff and their families
  • Afghan American Artists and Writers Association has organized a GoFundMe to assist Afghan artists in its network
  • The International Women’s Media Foundation is asking for donations that will directly help women journalists who are attempting to flee Afghanistan
  • No One Left Behind is raising funds to to help Afghan interpreters
  • A grassroots group of volunteers and veterans are leading a crowdfunding effort to cover flights to fly people out of Afghanistan. Money has already been used to make multiple round trips with two planes in recent days

Non-monetary ways to help:

Editor’s Note 5/2/22: A portion within this article has been removed at the interviewee’s request.