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The Refugee Empowerment Center helped resettle more than 400 Afghans in Nebraska

How are Afghan refugees resettling in Nebraska?
Posted at 10:27 AM, Apr 09, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Refugee Empowerment Center resettled more than 400 Afghans between October and March.

A case manager, Kubra Haidari is helping with the process.

"The difficulty that I have faced for myself. I want to help them to not face that difficulty," Haidari said.

Born in Afghanistan before moving to a refugee camp in Indonesia, her past forms her mission.

"I came as a refugee in 2016 from Indonesia. I was over there since 2011. I was there five years in a refugee camp, then my case was transferred. Then in 2016, I came to Nebraska," Haidari said.

Haidari started working full-time with the refugees once the Afghanistan evacuations took place.

"I feel their pain and what they want because I came from the same process," Haidari said.

For hundreds of Afghans in Nebraska that "process" looks entirely different from the life they knew before.

"Driving, going to work, buying food, groceries, every single thing we think is so simple is no different but is a huge difference from our home country in Nebraska," Haidari said.

Haidari acknowledges that it will take a longer time for adults to adjust compared to kids.

"Over there, we have all the customs, traditions, we are gathered all the time (and) events. When they came here, a little more lonely. Everybody's going to work, at home, there's no one. They feel isolated," Haidari said.

"Finding permanent housing was probably the biggest challenge. All the resettlement agencies faced here in town," said Erik Omar, Refugee Empowerment Center Interim Executive Director.

Now, more than 95% of their clients are in permanent housing.

At the U.S.-Mexico border, more than a couple of thousand Ukrainians are now arriving. They are hoping to gain entry, this is something Omar watches closely.

"We've already seen some asylum seekers arrive in Omaha. To reunite with existing family members. Beyond that, we're "wait and see mode" to whether or not we're gonna see some of those Ukrainian refugees sometime soon," Omar said.

To donate or give back, visit the Refugee Empowerment Center's website.

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