11/18/2022 

In this season of gratitude, we at the International Institute of Los Angeles are looking back and celebrating all that we have accomplished together in the past year. There truly have been some incredible developments since November 2021, and these achievements would not have been possible without the generous support of volunteers and donors like you!

Read how Mirwais, an accomplished Afghan journalist, is rebuilding his life in LA thanks to you!

Above: Mirwais Bezhan reporting in Afghanistan. Credit: VOA News, June 2020.

Click here to read his story.

FALL 2021 – At this time last year, IILA began receiving hundreds of Afghan clients in Los Angeles each month in the wake of the fall of Kabul in August 2021. We in the resettlement world had not encountered this level of need since the 1970s with the fall of Saigon. By May 2022, IILA alone had welcomed nearly 900 Afghans to Southern California. It took the collaboration and extensive efforts of resettlement agencies, community-based organizations, county and city departments, generous landlords, concerned volunteers and donors, and many others to meet this massive challenge.

It was amidst this unprecedented time that many of you joined our cause—answering the call to give your time, energy, expertise, goods, and funds to support your new neighbors. Your generosity increased our capacity to serve these new arrivals, in addition to those fleeing violence and persecution from other countries and low-income families in need across LA county. Many of you greeted clients at LAX or helped them settle into their temporary housing. Others made deliveries of food or other essentials, including social security cards and employment cards, and continued to check-in with families about their immediate needs.

WINTER – As donations poured in, we were able to hire several new staff to work with this population, including Dari and Pashto speakers who are former Afghan interpreters and recent Afghan arrivals themselves. As time progressed, volunteer teams or “sponsor groups” formed to accompany clients on their road to self-sufficiency alongside these new staff members. During this time, we intensified our efforts to find permanent housing for our new arrivals. Many of you were instrumental in finding homes for our new neighbors and then helping them move into them!!! By the end of February, nearly 650 Afghans were permanently housed.

SPRING – In April, we launched our Afghan Legal Representation Project to help Afghan humanitarian parolees begin their asylum application process. That same month, we began serving Ukrainian nationals who fled their homes in the face of the Russian invasion and arrived in the U.S. with the help of sponsors through the “Uniting for Ukraine” program. Since then, we have been able to hire Ukrainian and Russian speaking staff to better assist these clients with their resettlement needs.

Throughout the year, we still operated our regular programs amidst these humanitarian crises and our rapid expansion as an agency. We continued our immigration legal assistance, resettlement of refugees, humanitarian parolees, and asylees, accelerated employment program for new arrivals, case management for survivors of human trafficking and unaccompanied minors, free or low-cost childcare through 9 state-funded pre-schools and network of daycare and family centers, and access to subsidized transportation and nutrition services. By the end of this year, we will have served more than 53,000 clients.

We cannot thank you enough for your partnership through your dedicated service and heartfelt giving!

Save the Date! 

GivingTuesday is Nov 29.

After Black Friday & Cyber Monday, help us refocus the holiday season on community and generosity.

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