More than 100 Afghan refugees have resettled in Anchorage

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 4:54 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - While the world is focused on people trying to flee the Russian invasion in Ukraine, another group of refugees is quietly settling in Anchorage. Since October, Catholic Social Services has helped welcome 112 Afghan refugees to Anchorage, according to Brigit Reynolds with the organization’s Refugee Assistance Immigration Services program.

Reynolds said all the refugees have permanent housing, many have jobs, and their children are in school. Mohammad Mirzada, a refugee who now works for Catholic Social Services as a translator, said most are anxious to settle in.

“They don’t complain about anything,” he said. “They just want a normal life in here, so it’s no problems for anyone.”

On Wednesday, Mirzada was translating for a number of Afghan families visiting the Anchorage Museum. The children were particularly delighted with the Imaginarium Discovery Center inside. The museum is offering refugees free memberships to encourage them to get out and interact with the community.

“They’re brand new here to Alaska so (it’s) a way to learn about Alaska, but also a place to come and gather, get to know new neighbors and for us to get to know them,” said Museum Educator Hollis Mickey.

The Anchorage Museum has a “Pay it Forward” program on its website where people can purchase a membership and then buy a second membership to be donated to a refugee family. Catholic Social Services also has a variety of ways that people can help refugees, listed on their website.

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