From the Graveyard of Empires to the Queen City: Exploring the Status of Resettled Afghans in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Efficacy of Volunteer Partnership

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2024-04-30

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Abstract

This Master's Project attempts to better illuminate the status of resettled Afghans in Charlotte, North Carolina as of 2024. The project explores the perceptions of Afghan households about their resettlement, the assistance available, and their involvement with groups of local churches and other volunteers. The author created a survey that local Charlotte Afghan interpreters administered to 31 resettled Afghan respondents. Many of the survey questions mirrored those from a 2023 national survey of resettled Afghans from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Administration for Children and Families (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). The Master's Project survey innovates beyond ORR questions to provide more information about the status of Charlotte Afghans specifically. The paper provides some contrast with previous resettlement experiences in the United States and North Carolina – specifically, the Vietnamese, Montagnards, and Iraqis. The author proposes areas of enhanced focus for Charlotte volunteers, nonprofits, resettlement agencies, and local policymakers working with resettled Afghans. The paper highlights the specific focus areas of immigration status adjustment, childcare access, and addressing ethnic disparities within the Afghan community itself. The project also emphasizes the importance of sustaining local volunteer partnerships at the most immediate level towards approaching problem-solving with resettled Afghan families – which is characterized as “subsidiarity” in the paper. The author suggests that larger resettlement organizations and support resources should only assist with tasks that cannot be met by local volunteer partners. The paper proposes future areas of exploration potential, especially in consideration of longer-term partnerships lasting longer than three months. The work does not claim to be definitive in providing a single set of solutions to helping resettled Afghans. Rather, the work seeks to contribute useful knowledge by creating more awareness among policymakers and community stakeholders in Charlotte, along with any other interested parties in North Carolina and beyond.

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Schwartzbauer, Nathan (2024). From the Graveyard of Empires to the Queen City: Exploring the Status of Resettled Afghans in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Efficacy of Volunteer Partnership. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/30639.


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