by Elisheva Cohen
In September 2021, the military base of Camp Atterbury located in Edinburgh, Indiana, launched an inter-agency mission to host Afghan evacuees. Through this collaboration between the Department of Defense, State Department, and Department of Homeland Security, over 7000 Afghan guests were hosted at Camp Atterbury.
With support and guidance from the Global Center, students across Indiana University offered a wide range of support to Afghan guests living at Camp Atterbury. The students of Seeking Refuge, a student group of the Hamilton Lugar School, held a monthly table at First Thursdays to raise awareness of the situation of Afghan evacuees at Camp Atterbury and across the United States. These efforts reached more than 200 individuals who learned key words in Dari and Pashto, created greeting cards that were delivered to families at Camp Atterbury, and collectively donated almost $1000 used to purchase supplies for activities on the base.
For over two months, over 50 IU students, staff, and faculty dedicated their time and energy to volunteering at Camp Atterbury on a weekly basis. Students ran a wide range of activities including arts and crafts, sports, and other games for children under the age of 12. Other students provided essential legal assistance to further the process of resettlement. Others, still, taught cultural orientation classes to Afghan men, women, and children to help prepare them for resettlement across the United States. The volunteering effort was led by IU senior Rachel Najdowski, volunteer coordination intern for the Global Center.