There's been an outpouring of support from Colorado families inspired by a recent Gazette story about a Colorado Springs veteran who has offered to open his home to a stranded Afghan woman.
One woman, Deb Hood, volunteered money to fly the woman to the U.S. Others are wondering if they can help other Afghans left behind.
The plight of Afghan scholar Fahemeh Amini, who lost her job at the University of Herat during August's Taliban takeover, first caught the attention of Paul and Corrie Studdard in a Gazette article.
The Studdards are currently undergoing the arduous process of becoming Amini's U.S. sponsor, something she must have as she seeks a humanitarian parole visa.
"I am an eternal optimist," Studdard told The Gazette. "I truly believe that most Americans are good and kind and compassionate people who still believe that actions always speak louder than words."
Amini, 30, has been banished to her home and fears the Taliban will punish her for her career in education. For the last 10 years, her career as a university scholar was flourishing. Opportunities for Afghan women have been good until now. After the Taliban was defeated in 2001, the life expectancy of Afghan women grew from 56 years in 2001 to 66 in 2017, according to data from World Bank. Amini told The Gazette she will not lose hope.
The Studdards will pay Amini's $575 visa application fee, but Amini is broke because the banks in Afghanistan are frozen. Known for its suppression of women, the Taliban transitioned Kabul's Ministry of Women's Affairs into an office for the religious morality police, now known as "the Ministry of Invitation, Guidance and Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice." Rebels now in charge also called male teachers and boys to return to secondary school with no mention of female teachers or girls.
Wahid and Soraya Omar, an Afghan-American couple working as volunteers to get stranded Afghan women and their families to the U.S., are working with the Studdards and Amini to get through the arduous process of paperwork and travel accommodations.
How to help
Up to 2,000 Afghan refugees fleeing their homeland during the Taliban takeover may eventually end up in Colorado. Here’s how you can help:
Afghan Evacuee Support Fund
African Community Center
International Rescue Committee
Lutheran Family Services of the Rocky Mountains