HOUSTON (August 18, 2021) – For over 30 years, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (Interfaith Ministries) has been successfully resettling refugees from around the world. A refugee is someone fleeing their homeland due to war, violence or persecution. Houston has been a welcoming city to thousands of refugees and is known for its diversity and hospitality.
Now, Interfaith Ministries is preparing to welcome refugees from Afghanistan- many of whom have served as translators for American troops. With the U.S. withdrawal from that war-torn nation, Afghans who worked with our troops are in grave danger. These individuals are eligible for Special Immigrant Visas that expedite their journeys to the U.S.
Ali Al Sudani, Chief Programs Officer for Interfaith Ministries, knows this danger all too well. He fled his home country of Iraq when his life was threatened due to his work with British and American troops during the Gulf War. A mechanical engineer by training, Al Sudani left everything behind and eventually resettled in Houston. A proud Texan, he now welcomes other refugees who are starting new lives in our community.
In partnership with the U.S. State Department and Episcopal Migration Ministries, Interfaith Ministries begins its work with each refugee family with an airport pickup and a drive to their new apartment. In the weeks that follow, children are enrolled in school, English language classes begin, and eventually preparation to join the workforce. Over 90% of the refugees served by Interfaith Ministries are self-sufficient within six months of arrival.
“Refugees are incredibly resilient,” explained Al Sudani. “They have overcome unimaginable trauma and are determined to begin again.”
Welcoming the stranger is a tenet of all major faith traditions and a shared belief that Interfaith Ministries has held for decades. The organization is stepping up to welcome its newest neighbors.
For information on how to help refugees, please go to https://www.imgh.org/donate/refugees/.