Our objective is to connect newly Afghan arrivals with the necessary legal, education and outreach, mental health services, housing, and social services as needed to reasonably adjust to life in the Greater Los Angeles area. AAMO is uniquely positioned to play a vital role in helping the newly arrived Afghan Refugees. Our large and active volunteer base possesses the reach, cultural competence, and language skills (Dari and Pashto, two main Afghan languages and some local languages) to build strong relationships with new Afghan Refugees/Parolees by working together to meet their needs. Many of us came to United States as refugees and immigrants 30-40 years ago due to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. We experienced first-hand difficulties, language barrier, unemployment, trauma, and lack of cultural awareness of being in a new country and not having the proper support system to assist in guiding us get on our feet quickly. This is one of the main reasons why we established AAMO as our community continued to grow over in the coming years.
AAMO’s Response in Welcoming Afghan Newcomers
- AAMO as one of the founding members of Afghan Refugees of Southern California (ANSAR of SoCal) is the leading organization for a collation of local organizations in Southern California that make up the ANSAR network. ANSAR will serve as social connectors for newly arrived Afghan individuals and families. We look forward to coordinating with federal, state, and local elected officials and governments, local resettlement agencies, and National organizations to best coordinate our local efforts. For more detail of ANSAR activities, click on this link.
- AAMO was one of the first Afghan American organizations to join the Afghan Refugee Task Force organized by County of Los Angeles, Office of Emergency Management. Since joining, AAMO has played an active role on the committees and sub committees of this task force.
- AAMO compiled and published a comprehensive and illustrative orientation booklet (121 pages with color pictures) in 3 languages (English, Dari, and Pashto) to empower the new refugees with knowledge about the American culture, laws, the basics of American life, and community resources. We have encouraged them to learn English and find employment as soon as they can. Our volunteers have hosted many cultural orientation workshops over the past few weeks that have engaged over 400 new Afghan refugees/parolees.
- AAMO recently hired a full-time employee (AAMO Community Outreach Manager – COM) to focus on the welcoming of newcomers and to provide a single point of contact for resolving issues and challenges they may have. AAMO COM will be advocating for their rights and a fair and dignified treatment that they deserve. AAMO COM will also organize, and conduct varies empowerment workshops to promote opportunities for the Afghan refugees to become self-reliant and achieve a better quality of life. Our current COM fluently speaks all three core languages (English, Dari and Pashto) to interact and communicate easily with the Afghan refugees. AAMO is in the merge of hiring a part-time employee (Mental Health Support) who can serve the new refugees in a more systematic and organized way and respond to their mental health needs promptly.
- AAMO volunteers periodically visit the newly arrived Afghan minor children who are housed in Crittenton Services for Children and Families. AAMO conducted a couple of cultural sensitivity workshops for the staff of Crittenton to better serve these children.
- AAMO will conduct periodic home visits for some of the refugees upon their request, AAMO has made multiple assessments of families and individuals by working closely with the council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), resettlement agencies, governmental offices, and community partners to address the Newly Afghan Refugee needs.
- AAMO provides therapeutic services to support new Afghan Refugee arrivals with their challenges (depression, trauma/PTSD, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, cultural shock, and more). Due to high number of new refugees (close to 4,000 people) and wide area of coverage (Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura counties (approx. 56,500 sq. miles), there is a high demand for behavioral health and other health services.
AAMO Past workshops
- Islamic Center of Irvine (February 12, 2022)
- Islamic Society of Orange County (March 19, 2022)
- Islamic Center of Reseda (January 16, 2022)
- EMAN TV Interview (January 23, 22)
- Islamic Center of Santa Clarita (January 30, 2022)