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One year later | Afghan refugees thriving in Muncie

Posted at 7:47 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 19:47:29-04

INDIANAPOLIS — In September 2021, thousands of Afghan refugees arrived in Indianapolis as the United States pulled out, leaving them to flee their home country.

Since then, a local organization has dedicated its time to helping the evacuees have a successful next chapter since their move to Camp Atterbury.

Bibi BahramI got to work as soon as the 7,000-plus Afghan refugees arrived.

“I reached out to my entire committee to help with this dire need and people have come to this rescue,” Bahraml said.

She founded the Muncie Afghan refugee resettlement committee (MARRC) with a focus on providing support and services to refugees starting a new chapter.

“(I) just cannot describe the gratitude and the feeling that I have,” Bahraml said. “And I’m proud of my community (and) how this all came together.”

Since last Fall, 117 evacuees, including 37 families and more than 60 children, have resettled through the committee in Muncie.

Bahraml says the evacuees and thriving, noting most have jobs, all have a home and children are enrolled in school.

“The refugee families are very hard working and dedicated,” Bahraml said. “They’re not only able to help themselves and the community, but they are helping the family they left behind.”

Bahraml is no stranger to the path the thousands of Afghan refugees continue to walk. She herself fled Afghanistan in the 1980s, eventually resettling in Muncie after living in a Pakistan refugee camp.

“Each and every one of them are so inspired,” Bahraml said. “They call me mother and they’re so grateful.”

Bahraml says come October, MARRC will no longer be around. Instead, “Awaken”, another organization she started nearly two decades ago will become the main focus.

Awaken focuses on providing healthcare, education and vocational training for women and children in Afghanistan.

According to the researchers Indiana University’s public policy institute, there are more than 28,000 refugees living in Indiana. While most are Burmese, Afghans are a predominant group.