A staggering 80,000 Afghan refugees will be resettled in the U.S. between 2021-2022. This is a huge shift in refugee demographics as prior to 2021, only 132,000 Afghan refugees lived in the U.S.- most arriving in the last 20 years. If it feels like programs around the country are scrambling to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services for these new arrivals, they are.
The ability to adapt to the emerging and ever-changing needs immigrants to the U.S. is one of the strengths of Intercambio. In 2009, we published The Immigrant Guide, which has been translated into eight languages. More than 300,000 guides have been distributed nationwide since then. The guide was created because too often immigrants and refugees learn extremely important lessons about surviving and succeeding in the U.S. the hard way. We recognized a need for a simple guide that applied to all immigrants regardless of their documentation status and covered the most essential topics of everyday life in the briefest way possible.
Addressing the New Need
Earlier this year, we invited the national organizations using our materials to indicate their need for the guide translated for Afghan refugees. The responses we received from nearly 100 organizations affirmed the need, and many also gave us suggestions on updates and additional topics to include.
We have also secured the funding for this project, and the guide translation in both Dari and Pashto (the two most common Afghan languages) is underway. We hope to distribute 15,000 printed copies and 5,000 digital copies of The Immigrant Guide by October! We are thrilled to provide a tool for newcomers to feel more confident and able to navigate their new life in the U.S.