You may recall that St. John’s has been working with the Minnesota Council of Churches, Sts. Luke and James, and Saint Paul’s to help the Mirzada family transition to their new life in Minnesota after arriving via airlift from Afghanistan last year.
The Mirzadas will be moving to the Ostego area at the end of their current lease on July 31. This is where they began their lives in Minnesota at the encouragement of close friends from their lives in Afghanistan. We will miss them, but we celebrate their decision to be closer to their deeply connected community.
Unlike refugees, our Afghan friends are here as “humanitarian parolees”, a special temporary opportunity for them to apply for asylum or other immigration relief in the United States. Federal funding allocated to support Afghan Parolees runs out at the end of six months—one of the reasons the Mirzadas’ lease ended here in Minneapolis. Sahan Journal is covering the crisis facing Afghan families as these six months of support ends. Compounding this, rents all over the United States are increasing. At the end of July, the Mirzadas will be responsible for the majority of their housing expenses, a true challenge for a family of eight (soon to be nine) who are just beginning to learn English and find reliable employment.
We would like to raise enough funding to meaningfully help the Mirzadas with housing expenses as they find work and continue their life in Ostego. We are hoping to raise at least $15,000. With rent for an appropriate home for a family of this size averaging around $2000/month, this will allow the Mirzadas several months of housing stability.
To get us started, two parish members donated $1000. St. John’s, and Sts. Luke and James, have each offered to match their members’ contributions up to $3750. Saint Paul’s and Spirit of the Wilderness in Grand Marais will also be helping to raise funds.
You can donate here, or you can write a check to St. John’s indicating “Mirzada family” in the memo line. We’ll collect this and send a check to Minnesota Council of Churches, who will continue their relationship with the family and help them manage the funds. It would help greatly to have your donations submitted by Tuesday, July 19, so that we can get the Mirzadas their funds in time to rent a new apartment as of August 1.
In the meantime, the family’s transition to life in the United States is progressing quickly. The six children have completed the last two months of the school year in the Minneapolis Public Schools, and some are signed up for summer school. Khoban (mom) is expecting a seventh child in early February 2023. We’ve been helping to manage doctor appointments for both her and the children, two of whom have health issues. Several team members are English tutors for Khoban, who is an enthusiastic student. Another volunteer takes family members shopping at ALDI weekly. The children have discovered the summer joys of a pool at nearby Waite Park and parades on Central Avenue. Jamil (dad) found a part time job at a small grocery near their home which helps with current expenses. Jamil has also met with the family’s immigration attorney who will help them apply for appropriate immigration relief.
We wish this resourceful and resilient family the very best as they move on to their next adventure with blessings and gratitude for their time with us. This has been a meaningful way to express Jesus’ Way of Love as a community. Thank you for all your support!
Diane Erdmann, Jenny & Tim Rowe, St. John’s Episcopal Church