Afghan Refugees Arrive from Albania as part of Resettlement Project

    By Kathy Bratkowski
    July 29th, 2022

    At Lambert St. Louis airport this week, four members of the Azimi family stepped off a plane to a new life.

    The Azimis will find a welcome home in St. Louis, thanks to the Afghan Resettlement Program.  The privately funded program managed by the International Institute of St. Louis ensures the new families have their rent paid for six months. An Afghan community center, news publication and soccer teams for children are being created to make the newcomers feel at home.

    Check back for updates on a new HEC documentary film about the Afghan Resettlement Program, featuring interviews with community leaders who designed the program and refugees who are settling here. 

    The Azizi family had been stranded in Albania along with hundreds of other Afghan refugees waiting for clearance to come to the United States. Hundreds more are expected in the coming months. Former Missouri Secretary of State and Army veteran Jason Kander leads an effort to bring the refugees now in Albania to the St. Louis area. 

    In the video, he describes how the the group disguised themselves as a wedding party as a way to escape Taliban reprisals after the fall of Kabul.