Refugee Rescue: Breaking Down Barriers & Rebuilding Lives

Afghanistan Stranded Families
Posted at 6:08 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 18:08:25-05

ST. LOUIS, MI. — After a 20-year war … the U.S. is now out of Afghanistan. As a revitalized Taliban took control of the country, thousands of people who helped the U.S. military or took a stand against the Taliban are on the run. But they are not the only ones looking for help.

There are 26 million refugees globally, half of them are children. 11-thousand men, women and children came to America legally last year to build a new life.

“They're taking all the main of the family. They are killing them right away.” Explains Mohmmad Amin Sahel, a refugee from Afghanistan.

Mohammad Amin Sahel worked alongside U.S. marines for five years as an interpreter in Afghanistan. When he had the opportunity to escape this, he did.

“The only thing that I could take was my family.” He further explains.

It’s the kindness of strangers who are helping them now. The family walked into oasis international in the morning … by the afternoon … a truck full of furniture arrived. Joanie and Mark Akers started their refugee ministry fifteen years ago, after traveling abroad as missionaries …

“I was visiting an Ethiopian family here in St. Louis. I walked in the door, and it was just bare hardwood floor.” Mark Akers explains of the inspiration behind starting the organization.

“Our eyes were just open to what was happening in our own city.” Joani Akers further tells Ivanhoe News.

Mark says, “I told all my friends; you need to give me your stuff.”

To date, thousands of refugees from 50 nations have come through the oasis doors.

“Everything is different than our countries.” Hady Matta, a refugee from Egypt and Arabic coordinator explains of his time with Oasis.

“They are like my family.” Susan Jaff, a Kurdistan refugee explains.

Mark says, “Our goal was to help every refugee that came to St. Louis with a whole house full of furniture, their clothes, English classes, citizenship classes, baby showers.”

“We just wanted to help.” Trice Toomey, a volunteer for Oasis explains of her contributions.

Joanie and Mark’s mission now is to help these refugees rebuild their lives.

“I remember one mom saying, you know, I just, I don't want my children to grow up with a war going on all the time.” Joani explains.

Mohammad says, “I can see a bright future from them. And I’m so happy for that.”

In 2019, more than 75 percent of all refugees came from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar. Oasis serves six thousand refugees each year. It takes 40-thousand dollars a month to keep serving the refugees, 70 percent of that comes from individual donations. To find out how you can help, check out their Facebook page at oasis international or their web page at