A close up of two people holding hands but just the hands and wrists
Story California

CSU Provides Support for Afghan Refugees in California

Alisia Ruble


A close up of two people holding hands but just the hands and wrists
​​The CSU has a long history of showing compassion to those in need, and when California Governor Gavin Newsom announced in early September that the state would take action to support Afghan refugee arrivals, CSU campuses quickly identified ways in which they could help those suffering from the crisis in Afghanistan.

San José State’s Human Rights Institute has partnered with the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center and the UC Berkeley Afghan Student Association to launch a crowdfunded Afghanistan Emergency Fund, which has raised more than $250,000 including $50,000 from SJSU's Office of the President and Office of the Provost​.

Halima Kazem-Stojanovic, the core faculty member at SJSU’s Human Rights Institute, and a lecturer in the campus’s journalism department, has also established a network of more than 15 colleges and universities to sponsor Afghan scholars, academics, activists, and journalists and bring them to teach at universities in the United States. 

"We're trying to help them come here and do the work they did, and be able to share that knowledge. The J1 Foreign Scholar Visa is a route we can take," Dr. Kazem-Stojanovic said. 

Sacramento State, which serves a large population of Afghan students, has started community and crowd sourced funding outreach to provide resources for refugees and assist the local and state government in the resettling process.

"The State of California, City of Sacramento, and Sacramento State will continue to welcome Afghan refugees and assist them with their transition to the United States,” Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen said in a message to the campus community​. “There will be a great need for housing, language training, and job placement. To meet these needs, we will be called upon to demonstrate the compassionate caring that defines our Hornet Family. 

Cal Poly Pomona is also working to support Afghan scholars fleeing the country, and representatives from Stanislaus State have met with Congressional Representative Josh Harder to begin planning for the arrival of refugees. Cal State East Bay and Cal State Long Beach are also providing translators.

Additional resources may be used to help Afghan evacuees arriving in California including assistance and possible admission to students wishing to further their education, translation services, English as a second language (ESL) instruction, foundation support and crowdsource funding.

California is projected to take in approximately 5,200 Afghan evacuees, more than any other U.S. state, and the CSU is prepared to provide support as they continue to arrive. ​​