June 12, 2024
Afghan Relief and Resettlement Fund

The hardships of those who flee their homes due to war, persecution, or natural disasters aren’t over when they arrive in an asylum country. Integrating into a new culture presents an array of novel (yet still demanding) challenges and obstacles. With that in mind, the Community Foundation team established the Afghan Relief and Resettlement Fund in 2021 to help the thousands of asylum seekers resettling in Northern Virginia.

Over the past two years, the Community Foundation has awarded Afghan Relief Fund grants totaling $281,490 to nonprofits and initiatives that support this vulnerable population. Indeed, we awarded Annandale High School two grants (totaling $8,300), a portion of which to support an Afghan Student Group founded by students. The story behind the group and its founder illustrates how these grants support efforts to enrich our communities:

Husna Basiri and Dunya

Now an Annandale HS graduate attending GWU in the fall, Husna Basiri began volunteering as a Dari interpreter a few years ago when Afghan refugee students started meeting with academic counselors at her school. The students’ questions and concerns about navigating their new lives inspired her to organize meetings for Afghan and Muslim students at Annandale High School. These informal gatherings soon created a community, for which Husna founded an Afghan student group called Dunya.

In 2022, Annandale HS applied for and received Afghan Relief Fund grants on behalf of Dunya. This funding helped support Dunya’s programming and resettlement work with refugee students. Specifically, it enabled Husna and her peers to navigate the Annandale school system, organize field trips and college visits, and advocate for their community.

Their work was so successful that several graduating Dunya members besides Husna were also accepted to GWU and will attend this fall. Moreover, the cultural outreach and celebrations Dunya organized and joined helped members build a tight-knit community and contributed to Husna’s winning the 2023-2024 Peace Awards of Fairfax County.
Afghan Relief and Resettlement Fund

Yet Husna was not done helping her school community. She started an initiative that helped secure a space for Muslim students to hold Friday prayers, after which she helped establish a prayer and meditation room for all Annandale students. Finally, as co-president of the Student Equity Ambassador Leader organization, Husna organized a Mental Health Committee for the group’s benefit.

Witness the Impact of Your Support Through the Community Foundation

For over 40 years, the Community Foundation has sought to create a more equitable and inclusive community by supporting individuals and initiatives like Husna and Dunya. Visit our website to learn how you and your family can help those in need by starting a fund or becoming a donor today.