Helping the Welcome Co-op for Afghan Refugees

Shea Parker, Staff Writer

News in the United States has recently been intensely focused on Afghanistan. But what’s actually happening there?

“When U.S. forces left Afghanistan, the […] government fell […] because we decided […] to talk to the Taliban […] and so that was a big mistake. So, when we pulled out [of Afghanistan] the Taliban kind of seized power very quickly […], so when it fell they took over and I mean they have full control of the government and education, whether people are going to get that or not, especially women. […]  And they’re blocking off the airport right now and we still have US forces there so we’re trying to get them out, but we’re also trying to get people out who were interpreters and who helped the US government, but it seems to be kind of a big mess, and then ISIS got involved by bombing yesterday [August 27]. So it’s kind of a whole big mess, and I don’t think anyone really knows how many people […] are still stuck there,” said senior Natalie Grace Brown (’22).

Brown is getting involved in helping these refugees through a foundation called The Welcome Co-op.

“Their goal in this is trying to just raise as many donations as possible, whether it be cash or like actual tangible items. I mean, these people were starting over, like, half of them probably don’t speak English, they don’t know anyone here, so we’re just kind of giving them a head start, […] helping them start their new lives and a new chapter of their lives here in America,” said Brown.

She got involved with the Co-op by reposting their message on Instagram, and she will be volunteering at a few of their events coming up.

“I kind of have a personal connection to Afghanistan, [my family and I] know some people who are from there and they’re really good friends of ours and […] we knew we wanted to do something,” said Brown. “[I started promoting the Co-op] to just let people know this is happening and that’s a big deal”

She talked about the organization that the Co-op is a part of and how students can get involved.

“All over the U.S. are New American Pathways, which is a nonprofit organization and the Co-op is one of their groups, they are Atlanta based,” said Brown. “They are overwhelmed with donations right now, [but] they always need cash donations, that might be the best bet [to help out] right now”

She is a firm believer in taking action for important causes.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said Brown. “Reposting is really great, and that’s a helpful start, but [people should] also actually do something about it.”

Brown gave a message to her fellow Chamblee students.

“I think that it’s really important to be connected and to know what’s going on around the world, like we’re not the only country and there are other things that you can do to help other people,” said Brown. “So I think it’s important to always be watching the news, or keeping up with policies that’s happening in your local government, or national, or just world stuff.”