GENERAL CONFERENCE

‘Someone at the other end’: Utahns provide safe haven for Afghan refugees

Mar 28, 2022, 6:40 PM | Updated: 9:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — In the past six months, Utah has welcomed nearly 900 refugees from Afghanistan. Gov. Spencer Cox calls it the largest resettlement in our states history.

It’s the topic of one of KSL’s specials airing during General Conference weekend.

We all remember the shocking scene at the Kabul Airport last August. With the Taliban take over, Afghans who worked with the U.S. military or government were desperate to escape. 

Javid Ekhlas, his wife and two young children were among those who came to Utah.

Now, we are so comfortable here. It’s really nice for us now because day by day, we are familiar with the people, we are familiar with the places.”

Utah has two resettlement agencies that have taken the lead in helping these refugees.

Gov. Cox reaffirms Utah’s commitment to Afghan refugees

Natalie El-Deiry is the executive director of The International Rescue Committee

“It’s an incredible network of support and partnership that we benefit from. And that helps create a really strong fabric of support and networking for the poor refugees coming into Utah,” she said.

Aden Batar is the refugee services director for Catholic Community Services.

“And our community also has the depth, and also the big heart, to help those that have been persecuted and looking for a place to start a new life.”

Many Utahns have volunteered their time, loading moving vans with furniture and delivering those pieces to apartments for the refugees. Some are helping them settle in long-term, willing to spend months, even years, with them. 

Shelby Dunn is a volunteer with Catholic Community Services.

“I think their objectives are to give their children a life, and they want to be able to do that with their own independence.”

The governor and Mrs. Cox have stepped forward to help personally and support efforts on a state level.

“It’s core to who we are. I love living in a state that cares about these things. It’s part of our history,” he said. 

Abby Cox agreed, “Utahns want to give back. We’ve had people, so many people, reach out and say how can I help? How can I help? And we were guiding them to these to these organizations that are doing really powerful work.”

People of many faiths have assisted. The refugees can find clothing, furniture, jobs, and English classes at Deseret Industries.

Jean B. Bingham is Relief Society General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“They’ve tried to make a good life in a place that they did not choose themselves. And so, the more we love, the more we can reach out to others and share what we have. Then, we become a real community.”

And most welcoming are Afghans themselves, those who came to Utah years ago, like Wali Arshad Salem, owner of Afghan Kitchen.

“I hope that I could give them, you know a little bit of hospitality that they had in Afghanistan, first slice of the Afghan culture to them.”

They all believe, it is the beginning of a new home.   

Join us for “Someone at the Other End” Saturday, April 2 at 1:30 p.m. on KSL TV and live-streaming on the KSL TV app.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

General Conference

FILE: The Conference Center. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)...
Madison Swenson, KSL TV

17 new temples announced during April 2022 General Conference

The locations of 17 new temples were announced during the 192nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
2 months ago
Documentary ‘Found’...
KSL TV

WATCH: ‘Found’

Abandoned at a young age, some of Diane Call’s earliest memories still haunt her. She was born in a small village in India—her name was Vijaya. When she was 3 years old her mother left her at an orphanage near their home and told her she would return with food. She waited but her mother never returned.
2 months ago
The Indy Effect...
KSL TV

WATCH: ‘The Indy Effect’

Influencer and blogger Terah Belle Jones broke the news to her Instagram followers that her 5-year-old daughter Indy Llew Jones had passed away following a battle with cancer. Terah and her husband, Brian Jones, have shared Indy's journey with their 260,000 Instagram followers.
2 months ago
...
KSL TV

WATCH: ‘KSL Radio 100 Years’

Beginning on May 6, 1922, Utah became the broadcast home of the first clear channel radio station in the western United States.
2 months ago
...
KSL TV

WATCH: ‘Someone At The Other End’

An in-depth look at the work being done for Afghan refugees. Several agencies in the state have worked tirelessly to help with the transition for these new members in our community. Volunteers have stepped up to support those fleeing the violence in their country; and to show them there is truly someone at the other end who is willing to help.
2 months ago
Deserae Turner: Tougher Than A Bullet...
KSL TV

WATCH: Deserae Turner — Tougher Than a Bullet

On Feb. 16, 2017, 14-year-old Deserae Turner’s life was forever changed. The talented state-champion horse rider was shot in the head and left for dead in a canal in Smithfield. She lay in that cold wintery canal for 8 hours before being found by her school teacher.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
‘Someone at the other end’: Utahns provide safe haven for Afghan refugees