We have learned so much from the 212 Afghan wartime allies and their families who were resettled in Rochester this year. Each new arrival is resilient and courageous, and we recognize their ability to pivot during the most critical times in their lives.
WITH 15 YEARS OF SERVICE, FAHEEM WAS WELL-LOVED BY THE STAFF AND SOLDIERS WITH WHOM HE WORKED.
In 2018, when leaving work, Faheem was brutally attacked by the Taliban and left for dead with wounds to his chest, back, arms, and legs. He knew his family was not safe and that he must do something to protect them once he recovered.
Faheem and his family pivoted and fled Afghanistan to Kahramanmaraş, Turkey. In December 2019, Faheem contacted Keeping Our Promise for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) resettlement assistance. Over the next three years, KOP sent 116 pieces of correspondence on Faheem’s case and over 400 messages to secure their visas, which had already been denied once before.
While the U.S. Embassy in Turkey processed the case, KOP received a frantic message that Faheem and family had survived the horrifying Feb. 6, 2023 earthquake in Kahramanmaraş.
Lacking shelter in the dead of winter, Faheem was determined to keep his family safe. He pivoted and found a way to Ankara. Finally, in March of 2023, their visas were granted, and with your help KOP got the family out of Turkey. They arrived safely in Rochester in April.
Faheem is now working on a certificate in auto mechanics at OACES and intends to start his own auto repair business.
2023 HAS BEEN OUR YEAR TO PIVOT AS WELL.
Our volunteers have devoted many years to our cause, and have certainly felt overwhelmed at times, particularly when the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan. Recognizing the importance of our volunteers’ well-being, we knew we must pivot our approach while still providing our wartime allies with resettlement services of the highest quality.
To do this, we invested in staffing. In January, KOP welcomed two Operations Assistants, including Rahim, who resettled to Rochester with his family thanks to your support. The Operations Assistants make the work of 180 registered volunteers manageable and orderly. Their experience and wisdom help KOP provide trauma-sensitive care to individuals and families, while allowing volunteers to focus on the best and most rewarding parts of welcoming SIVs to Rochester.
Nine years ago, we could not have imagined being able to employ someone whom we resettled. It has been a privilege to work with Rahim and all our dedicated staff, board members, coordinators, and volunteers.
As a small non-profit that does not receive government funding, we have pivoted to navigate a sharp decrease in donor support. This decline may be attributed to a shift in world news away from the crisis in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, we are determined to explore new and unique sources of funding.
We are pleased to share that we have secured several grants with funds earmarked for disseminating critical health-related information to the Afghan community.
Even as basic living costs continue to rise, Keeping Our Promise has devoted over $228,000 year-to-date to resettling families like Faheem’s.
We need your help to continue evacuating interpreters and support personnel who are stranded and face imminent danger in Afghanistan.
Because of you, we can provide critical aid like housing, transportation, food, household goods, and more.
Together, we can achieve our 2024 goal of resettling at least 200 Afghan individuals.
YOUR DONATION WILL HELP THESE AMAZING HEROES BECOME NEW AMERICANS!