Volume 1, Issue 2
January 8, 2022
Fresh Start Khabar
Khabar, "news" in farsi, is Fresh Start's monthly newsletter. Have a story or photos of Fresh Start members making an impact? Please share them with our team and it will be included in the next issue.

Our team at Fresh Start Refugee Assistance Center want to wish everyone a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year! The community’s support has given Fresh Start the ability to help 194 individuals with direct resettlement efforts. We would like to thank you for the continued support that has made this possible and hope to continue these efforts as we strive to develop and implement more programs with our partners for the evolving resettlement needs of Afghan families. Visit our website and sign up to become a volunteer.
Neelab's inspiration behind Fresh Start
Neelab Yousafzai, the founder of Fresh Start participated in an interview with “The Illuminate Podcast” by Kristin Srour on 12/29/2021. Neelab shared her motivation behind starting Fresh Start by sharing her personal experience as a refugee and her desire to help alleviate the burden of resettlement for newly arriving families. Neelab envisions that Fresh Start will continue to be at the forefront of resettlement efforts, to improve refugee lives, and give them the opportunity to thrive in a new country.

Partnership Spotlight
Nova Resettling Afghan Families Together
NoVA RAFT is a community organization led by veteran Dan Altman that helps with resettlement efforts and has furnished over 90 homes for Afghan refugees through donations made by generous community members in the DMV region. Additionally, RAFT members support Afghan refugee families with job assistance, enrollment in school and social services. Fresh Start has partnered with RAFT to coordinate resettlement efforts in Northern Virginia by focusing on cultural intricacies, building meaningful connections, and offering mentorship opportunities. Empowerment and respect are at the core of both organizations' missions as we support our Afghan allies to integrate into our communities.
Dan always says, “When they are happy, I am happy.”
Partnership Spotlight
Operation Code
OperationCode is a certified 501(c)(3) and is made up of a large community of military veterans and service members that train to become software developers and other professionals within the technology sector. The veteran group is very interested in providing these training and certification programs in person and virtually to potential Afghan candidates that are in the process of being resettled in the US.

Fresh Start, in partnership with OperationCode, developed a skills assessment survey meant to gauge the technology and computer literacy of our Afghan Allies. The assessment is in English, Dari, and Pashto. Our hope is to up skill refugees as they enter the workplace and prepare them for in demand positions in the tech sector.

The FreshStart and Operation Code team conducted an in person assessment on Fort Pickett in December.

The survey is open for all newly resettled afghans and can be taken online, please see the links below.
Community Engagement
Afghan Virtual Summit was held on December 7-11, 2021. Follow the link to hear Afghan Americans working on resettlement efforts and the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA)
According to USCIS, humanitarian parole is utilized to admit non-citizens into the United States in circumstances involving an urgent humanitarian reason or for whom there is a significant public health benefit. The utility of humanitarian parole is that it provides a two-year opportunity to allow for individuals to then apply to other immigration programs like asylum, refugee status, or a special immigrant visa. Majority of the Afghan individuals who have been granted humanitarian parolee will need to seek permanent residence in the US. Afghan Adjustment Act will these parolees seek that permanent status. Please contact your congressional members and ask them to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act.

Refugees International’s deputy director for the Americas and Europe, Yael Schacher, interviewed Fresh Start Board members and shared our mission of a holistic approach to the resettlement process by maintaining long-term mentorships to provide families the support they need to succeed.
On the Road to Independence
An important first step towards independence and self-sufficiency in the resettlement process is being able to drive. A collaborative program between Fresh Start and RAFT, is the Driver’s Program aimed to help teach our newly arrived Afghan allies how to drive and obtain a valid Virginia Driver's License. Volunteers spearheading the program have already helped our first client obtain his driver’s license this month as well as helped our first female student driver participate in behind-the-wheel training. “It was humbling to experience her first time driving a car, a privilege that many of us take for granted.”
- Marjan, volunteer.
Pease consider donating
to our GiveButter campaign or by Venmo.