HOUSTON (September 18, 2021) – On Saturday, September 11, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (Interfaith Ministries) hosted an event on the Brigitte & Bashar Kalai Plaza of Respect for Super Volunteer, Tehmina Masud, and her friends – Shehed Khudairi, Ustazah Farhat Ahmed Shamsi, Tara Turk-Zaafran and Dr. Sherif Zaafran, and Sima Ladjevardian – who raised community donations to purchase cars for six newly arriving Afghan refugee families. The cars were presented to each family after brief remarks were given by Masud and friends All funds were raised by Masud, and no Interfaith Ministries funds were used to purchase the cars.
For more than 30 years, Interfaith Ministries has been welcoming refugees from around the globe. The Refugee Services program, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department and Episcopal Migration Ministries, resettles hundreds of refugees in Houston annually.
Interfaith Ministries President and CEO, Martin B. Cominsky offered remarks, “As Afghan allies fleeing persecution and violence in Afghanistan begin to arrive in Houston, Interfaith Ministries and a team of local volunteers are ready to welcome them and help them get resettled.”
Martin continued, “Having a car will help our Afghan allies get integrated into their new lives. With reliable transportation our newest neighbors can search for jobs, travel to work and school, make their appointments, shop for groceries and tend to the needs of their family members quickly and efficiently.”
The Rev. Gregory Han, Director, Interfaith Relations & Education at Interfaith Ministries offered reflections about the shared belief of all faith traditions and a shared human value of what it means to “welcome the stranger”. The reflection was followed by the playing of the National Anthem.
During Masud’s comments she stressed the importance of how one person can start a movement to help others and how much the movement can spread. Major donors were invited to make comments. Khudairi, Shamsi, Turk-Zaafran, and Ladjevardian offered their remarks about the strong community support to help Afghans resettle in Houston, a welcoming and diverse city, where people can rebuild their lives.
Jay Harberg, Interfaith Ministries Board Chair, offered closing remarks and led the procession to the parking lot for the presentation of the cars.
Interfaith Ministries is prepared to welcome up to 1,000 Afghan refugees.
“We have launched the One Thousand Neighbors One Thousand Reasons campaign to raise $1 million over the coming months to help these families,” said Cominsky. “Thanks to strong community support, we are already more than halfway to our goal.”
For information about Refugee Services at Interfaith Ministries please visit here.