Update From International Institute Regarding Afghan Refugees

Here is the latest on the resettlement of the Afghan refugees in the Merrimack Valley by the International Institute of New England:

  • They are expecting about 50 more Afghans over the next month, evenly distributed by week. February 15 is the final date of receipt of new refugees
  • About 20 are still in hotels. Interestingly, most Afghans turned down homestays (living in someone else’s home temporarily) preferring hotels until resettled in their own apartments. Number in hotels in Manchester is still about 45-50.
  • Looking for lots of staff including a full-time volunteer coordinator and interns. Checkout the IINE website for all staff openings.
  • Now filling up apartments in surrounding communities to Lowell (Lawrence, Tewksbury, Chelmsford) seem to be communities on the bus line.
  • More variety of individual volunteer opportunities including transportation and professional mentoring. These are available through the volunteer website.
  • Lowell has settled around 150 refugees, 50% are pretty good in English, about 50% are not very literate in their native languages (diverse backgrounds)
  • The Newburyport UU church accepting the large family was specifically mentioned.
  • Some kids are already in school, but majority are not since there is a bureaucratic backup in paperwork (vaccines, etc.)