Today we’d like to introduce you to Sofia Khan.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
When I moved from NYC to KC in 1996 and I was interested in getting involved in serving the underserved.
Over the years, I connected with community leaders of refugees resettled in NE KCMO. I started meeting with resettled families. Initially, I would get donations though my friends and deliver it to them.
In 2015-16 US President announced that we were going to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees to the country, I noticed a great interest in the community to help these families.
Through my work with a local resettlement agency, I had become the community sponsor for the first Syrian family of this surge to KC.
Soon, I realized that we can do so much more for these family if we had proper community collaboration and support.
Thus, with a desire to bring community members and their support to the resettled families in KC. “KC for Refugees” was formed!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I won’t say it’s a smooth road, especially with all the changes in refugees resettlement in the past 4-5 years. The infrastructure and resources for this program has been reduced.
Additionally, within GKC, the biggest challenge is lack of public transport and affordable housing in many neighborhoods. This causes distancing of these families from good school and better jobs.
Over the years we have done hundreds of educational programs for the community, to help them understand the journey of a these families and the US refugee resettlement process.
We have collaborated with community nonprofits and organizations in creating a network of resources for the families.
Through our mentorship programs, we bring community in the lives of these families as a friend and guide to help them on their path to self-sufficiency.
We provide direct support to these families as per their wish list; jobs, food, baby showers for the new moms, furniture, laptops, even donated cars!
Our goal is to stop at nothing…whatever the issue might be, we try to find a solution: English language support, citizenship classes, housing application help or medical questions…we try to do it all.
It’s amazing what we can achieve when we all work together!
Kansas City has many non-profits providing support that we utilize, from food pantries to free diapers, free clinics to free English lessons and citizenship classes.
“Collaboration” has been the key to our success. By posting on social media, we see that someone always steps up to the plate…no matter what the issue might be!
I’m currently expanding our efforts to find community members/ organizations for the “Afghan refugees sponsorship” through the “US Humanitarian parole”program.
This is being done in collaboration with several local non profits and national humanitarian groups.
Despite all challenges, I’m excited to be part of a community that’s becoming the most welcoming city of our country!!
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m a hospitalist in Kansas City, born in Pakistan and moved to the states with my parents and siblings over 35 years ago.
I’m interested in building interfaith bridges and breaking the boundaries of segregation. Through the work of KC for Refugees, I hope to create mutual care and understanding among members of our community by bringing them closer to each other in care and kindness.
What matters most to you?
Humanity ….compassion towards each other is the key to peace.
I remind myself of this every day!
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: KC for Refugees