New Afghan community center offers resources to refugees in Alexandria

More help is on the way for Afghan refugees here in the D.C. region. 

Thursday night was the grand opening of a new Women for Afghan Women community center in Alexandria.   

The program manager for the new center, Mariam Kakar, says they will connect refugees to the resources they need and adjust to life in the United States.  

"There’s such a gap, a cultural gap," Kakar said. "A language barrier, especially for the women. As most people know in Afghanistan, women don’t even leave home without a male escort. Most of them don’t work and then there’s a lot of people that have come from the outer villages. It’s a completely different environment for them."


Women for Afghan Women is a nonprofit that has been around for over twenty years helping immigrants settle in the United States. 

They help provide educational programs, mental health counseling, immigration legal services, and social services like finding housing jobs healthcare, transportation and even applying for food stamps.  

The group has a center in New York but expanded to Virginia since the state has the second-largest Afghan population in the country.  

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Naheed Samadi Bahram, U.S. Country Director for Women for Afghan Women, told FOX 5 that the organization chose Alexandria for the location because a lot of the Afghan refugees have been housed in the area.  

"Knowing you resettle at a state where you have your community members who can speak the language that you do, you can understand the culture you have come from and also have the support at those beginning very difficult times of resettling. I think it’s very important for any community not only Afghan but any refugee community," Bahram said.