An unfortunate situation turns into an opportunity for a new life.
In recent months, the world has watched as tens of thousands of Afghans have scrambled to flee their country since the Taliban took over. A spotlight has been put on the tragedy and danger that forces families to leave their homes in search of safety, but refugees have been seeking new lives for centuries. And for the past seven years, UWGKC partner Della Lamb has been there to help. In 2014 they added a program resettling refugees from around the world, and have since been providing opportunities for a fresh start right here in Kansas City.
An estimated 50,000-60,000 people from Afghanistan are expected to come to the United States in the next year. Currently, the team at Della Lamb are preparing for around 250 refugees planned to make their way from Afghanistan to Kansas City through their Refugee Resettlement program within the next few months.
“This is an unfortunate situation in Afghanistan, but we’re grateful that the US is allowing Allies and refugees here,” says Della Lamb Community Services Engagement Director, Cori Wallace.
Sakina Musturi can relate to what the Afghan people are going through. Thankfully, for her, help from Della Lamb came in multiple ways.
“Once I got here, I knew I could be somebody and have a real chance at life,” says Sakina.
Born in the Dominican Republic of the Congo (DRC) she and her family (dad, mom, and eight siblings) were forced to flee their home in 2007 when it was burned down during a political uprising. The family of 10 (with kids aged from six months to 16 years) walked for days without food or water until finally being picked up by a semi truck and taken to South Africa where they became refugees.
After being in South Africa for 12 years, struggling to make ends meet, Sakina was able to come to Kansas City as a refugee in 2019. Although her family was forced to stay in South Africa, she came alone which was scary and uncertain, but Della Lamb’s Refugee Resettlement Program helped her resettle and get acclimated.
Not long after she arrived in Kansas City, Della Lamb offered Sakina an additional blessing by hiring her as Refugee Resettlement Case Manager. In this role, she has been a valuable member of the team, bringing an understanding to what the resettling families are going through while assisting them through completing documentation, school enrollment, and medical screenings. Sakina also speaks Swahili which helps avoid some language barriers that could normally be an obstacle while helping refugees resettle.
“Having been a refugee myself who had to adjust and adapt to the experience of coming to America, I have a great personal appreciation for the services that Della Lamb provides to new refugees,” Sakina says. “I truly believe the support programs for refugees and members of the community that Della Lamb provides makes a real difference and I am proud to be involved and contribute.”
Sakina waits in hopeful anticipation for the day when her family can join her in Kansas City. A city she loves for many reasons, including the kind people, the weather, the Chiefs, and great barbecue.
“We are SO proud of the support of the United Way donors,” says Cori Wallace.
Learn more about Della Lamb and how you can help refugee families and THANK YOU to all who give to United Way Greater Kansas City. The programs you fund are helping make dreams a reality for people like Sakina who have been given the opportunity for a second chance at life.