Learning to live in a new country isn’t easy, especially when the culture, customs, and language are so different from what you’ve grown up with. When the United States military pulled out of Afghanistan in August of 2021, the men who had supported them had two choices, stay and face almost certain death or flee with their families to a very challenging and uncertain future

It’s been our privilege at B5 to get to know these families since they settled here a year ago. We’ve learned a lot about their culture, sampled some of their tasty food, and helped their children with their schoolwork. But it’s been difficult to connect with the women. They are used to living quietly in their homes — caring for their families’ needs as they did in Afghanistan. We know that it will benefit them to learn English and participate in their children’s education, but they are uncomfortable attending classes where men are present.

For that reason, we were excited to begin the new year with a volunteer-taught class only for Afghan women. The class meets at B5 four mornings a week. Four of our volunteers were eager to help by teaching. A grant from 3 Rivers Community Foundation provides childcare for preschool children during the class, which removes another barrier to attendance. It’s our hope that the women and their teachers will learn from one another as they are able to communicate with each other, and that together they will turn strangers into friends.

We are looking for other women to join in this work — some of the women find it difficult to attend the class, but would be open to having a volunteer teach them in their home. B5 will provide curriculum and training for those who volunteer. If you are interested in growing a cross-cultural friendship like this, please reach out to us through our volunteer page or send an email to Lois Douglass.