Bridge Refugee Services prepares to receive Afghan refugees

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One Knoxville nonprofit is keeping a close eye on Afghanistan so they can be ready to help. Bridge Refugee Services is the only refugee service in East Tennessee. They have a second office in Chattanooga.

The Knoxville staff has been working around the clock to prepare for more people leaving Afghanistan to come to America.

Nearly a week after the fall of the Afghan government, more Afghan refugees are starting to flood into America, and slowly, they’re arriving here in Knoxville.

“So far we have two people and we are expecting more,” said Bridge Executive Director, Drocella Mugorewera. She knows exactly what it feels like to start all over. This time brings back memories of fleeing her home country, Rwanda. Now she’s doing her part to help Afghan refugees find safety and security.

The organization helps refugees find housing and employment. They also provide English classes and a case manager that checks in to make sure they’re getting acclimated.

Bridge already helps people from all over the world. With a new influx of refugees expected to come in, resources and housing are quickly becoming scarce.

“I want to tell people to be ready with donations, now they can give online, they can send checks, but also we need donations like tables and couches and things so regular business is continuing,” Mugorewera said.

More than monetary donations, the organization says the incoming refugees will need kindness and understanding from their new neighbors.

“I just want we as Americans to keep our compassion to this population and do everything they can to welcome whoever will be sent to us,” Mugorewera said. “We cannot reset our refugees without supportive communities.

Bridge only takes clients that have been vetted and referred by the federal government.

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