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Dearborn Campaign Seeks to “Befriend” Afghan Refugees

Moving to a new country is a challenge for many families. But for the Afghan refugees, it was a huge transformation to move from their country to the US weeks ago.

In order to bring these families closer to the American life, some of Michigan’s nonprofit agencies and community organizers have hosted an event as part of a campaign to befriend Afghan refugees.

Saturday saw the launch of the campaign “Befriend a Family” in an event attended by more than 250 people to provide refugees with the “intangibles of resettlement.”

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“I can only imagine how our new neighbors are feeling,” said organizer Palo Barakzai, a New York native with family roots in Kabul, Afghanistan, The Detroit News reported.

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“They don’t have a support system, education, language, transportation or a cultural understanding. Our new neighbors are struggling with loneliness, confusion, despair and a general misunderstanding,” she said.


The event’s main goal was to have two or three volunteer families sponsor a refugee family, providing mentorship or helping them to develop an emotional support system.

The grassroots campaign includes Hype Athletics, Zaman International, Samaritas, Amity Institute, the Muslim Foster Care Association and Wayne County.

“We’re not here as allies or friends of the refugee population that came to Michigan,” comedian Amer Zahr said.

“We are here tonight as brothers and sisters. Because we are them and they are us. Because we come from the same story, and we will never forget because of our names.”

With the refugees’ arrival, several Muslim groups have been leading effort to help refugees in their new homes.

Earlier this month, the Triangle Association of Muslim American Mothers (TAMAM) launched a clothing drive to provide long sleeve or loose clothes for the Afghan women.

In September 2021, the people of Indiana donated hundreds of prayer rugs, clothing donations and personal hygiene products to Afghan refugees, believing that prayer is a connection to god everyone need in the time of difficulty.