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International Institute supports Afghan refugees with free phones and tablets

Dozens of Afghan refugees who came to St. Louis with nothing are headed home with two small things that will make a big difference in their lives.

ST. LOUIS — The International Institute and partners gave 35 Afghan families a phone and a tablet on Saturday.

“There is lots of challenge but there are lots of chances,” Afghan refugee Mohammed said.

Mohammed, his wife and five children all fled Afghanistan with nothing and wound up in St. Louis where they found their way to the International Institute’s Afghan Community Support Program.

“We are refugees so we don’t know about the customs. We have lots of problems even talking with people, dealing with people. I mean even the simple thing to go in the groceries to buy your dinner and eat,” Mohammed said.

Mohammed said they are so grateful for this phone and tablet

“Not only can it be used for fun but lots of the time for learning English I need the Apple iPad, I need the phone, I need the Internet but I had no access to that before. It was a big problem for my family,” Mohammed said.

The President of the International Institute Arrey Obenson said this is something they’ve never done before for family resettlement.

“The phones that we’re giving to them are loaded with resources in the languages that they speak and they can have up to 10 devices connected meaning that even the children can do their homework from school,” Obenson said.

Obenson said they’re so grateful for the donations from the community and Arch Grants that made this happen for a total of 184 families who are trying to contribute to their new home.

“With a community like this that pulls together resources, people can succeed and people will succeed in St. Louis,” Obenson.

Right now the International Institute is helping this new Afghan community out with a housing fund, community center, job programs and more. 

They’re always in need of volunteers and donations to make it happen there’s more information here.

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