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Afghan refugees to get help getting around Tulsa

Posted at 7:18 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 08:48:30-04

Afghan refugees in Tulsa are getting more help to get around town to help them get to jobs to support their families.

The city received two grants totaling $160,000 which will provide bus passes, driver’s education and contextualized English classes for Afghan refugees all to help them integrate socially and provide economic mobility.

Two young Afghan refugees told 2 News this will really help their family

“Afghan refugees they didn’t have lot money to get driver’s license and to get car. I think that will be helpful,” Khalilbeak, an Afghan refugee, said.

Khalilbeak said if her family is able to get their own driver’s licenses and car they won’t have to rely on others. The city said they had to get creative to obtain the grants which work like a multi-phased approach.

A $10,000 grant from the Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity will be used to provide Tulsa transit bus passes to refugees for a 30 day time frame.

“That can be used to for people to get to there jobs to appointments to social events just to help people get around town,” said Krystal Reyes, City of Tulsa chief resilience officer.

Open Society Foundation also gave the city a $150,000 grant to help more long-term.

“We’re going to be supporting individuals to access driver’s licenses, study for their exams, get tutoring, and contextualized English classes," Reyes said. "So they can actually get driver’s licenses and eventually get cars and be able to be self sufficient around town.”

Tulsa has over 850 Afghan refugees which is about 200 families.

“We feel that we are not alone here. We think that all the people in Tulsa help us and we are so happy because we are here,” Shahrukh Khalilbeak, an Afghan refugee, said.

Reyes says the goal is to help the refugees support themselves and ultimately help the local economy.

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