Since early August 2021, when the Taliban began taking over province after province, we initiated (with friends from Help the Persecuted) steps to rescue and evacuate former JDA staff and at-risk minority Afghans. The process and the rules for these rescues were constantly changing and all subject to the Taliban rules on the ground. Finding countries willing to accept evacuation flights was extremely complicated. We traveled to Budapest and Athens for meetings in hope that spending time face to face with their governments would open doors for our Afghan evacuees. Unfortunately, all of this activity yielded no results.
During an eight-week period many attempts were made to evacuate our Afghan friends to Qatar, Kosovo, Albania and to the UAE. Finally, on October 20, 2021, we were able to evacuate 568 individuals to the UAE.
Since this successful rescue, we have set up the Grand Valley Resettlement Program with the intent to resettle some of our Afghan friends to the Grand Valley area and other parts of Colorado. We now wait for processing to commence in the UAE so that our Afghan friends can have an onward journey to the United States. Members of each Afghan family now located in the UAE have all worked for JDA, some for many years. We know them personally and they have skills and talents that will be useful where ever they resettle.
JDA International, through Grand Valley Resettlement Program
In 2022, GVRP successfully resettled 38 Afghan evacuees. GVRP found the refugees safe housing, family sponsor groups to help each family navigate daily life in America, enrolled in Medicaid, English language courses, and kids in school.
In December 2022, GVRP through JDA was approved by the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to become a Community Partner under the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). GVRP Provides core services to Afghan refugees to enable them to rebuild and integrate their new lives in the United States.
These are just a few of the core services JDA and GVRP Staff/Volunteers:
Find housing and provide all furnishings.
Provide a support team to walk beside the families.
Provide initial meals and food supplies.
Grocery and clothing shopping.
Employment support, resume writing, job fairs.
Help with intake paperwork.
Assist with public benefits.
Enroll children in school, ESL courses.
Transportation to appointments and meetings.
Help to learn public transportation.
Introduce refugees to the in Grand Valley.
Set up bank accounts, explain US currency and general value of goods.
Help familiarize with public safety and what to do in an emergency, how to call 911.
Areas where support is needed:
Assistance in finding employment opportunities-Job openings
The Grand Valley Resettlement Program (GVRP) was established in 2021 to establish local community support for Afghan parolees and SIVs in the city of Grand Junction and the surrounding areas referred to as Grand Valley. GVRP's vision is to develop long-term relationships with new arrivals from Afghanistan by demonstrating love, care, compassion and concern for their lives and their needs. The program's overall is to fully integrate Afghan families into society in the Grand Valley within a two-year period.
Contributions directed to the Grand Valley Resettlement Program will go 100% towards assisting Afghan families resettle in the Grand Valley.