TULSA, Okla — Imagine you're forced to leave your home, your country, your family, and everything else you have ever known— how would you start over?
As hundreds of Afghan refugees work to adjust to a new country, a new language, and a new way of life, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry is there for them.
“This is a total interfaith effort between our Catholic brothers and sisters and our Jewish brothers and sisters and our Protestant friends and the Muslims that are coming in," said executive director, Aliye Shimi.
One way of helping these refugees put their lives back together is by getting the families out of their housing and letting the children run and play and just be kids. Many saw a park for the first time on Wednesday evening. While the children tested out the swings, the slide, the merry-go-round, and other activities, their parents kept a watchful but thankful eye.
“We are just out here trying to give them a little bit of family time for them to be able to see Tulsa and enjoy some of our partners here," said Shimi.
The children were very curious about the 2 News cameras, as well as members of the Tulsa Police Department. During Chief Wendell Franklin's interview, one Afghan boy leaned into the shot with a grin on his face.
“It’s very cool to see. I don’t know. I mean it’s like me being placed in another country and trying to understand the experiences that they are going through," said Franklin.
Franklin wants Tulsans to understand the enormous, ordeal these people have been through and what a gift they are to our community.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for our city just to show the outpouring and caring community that we are, and I think it’s just a great experience," said Franklin.
The first of Tulsa's refugee arrivals started September 24th, and there are many organizations working to make sure the refugees are housed and fed, there is still a need for things like sanitary products, English as a second language teachers, legal support for civilian paperwork processing and residency/work permits.
To help click on this GoFundMe link here.
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