MCC Fosters Sense of Belonging for Newcomers from Afghanistan to Rochester
November 22, 2021
Students, faculty and staff donate school supplies for Afghan children
BRIGHTON, N.Y. – As a growing number of newcomers from Afghanistan start their lives in the Rochester area, a Monroe Community College student organization has led on-campus efforts toward easing the transition for Afghan children.
The Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Project (HGHRP) recently delivered 50 backpacks filled with school supplies donated by MCC members to Keeping Our Promise, a Pittsford-based resettlement program for Afghan, Iraqi and Kurdish interpreters and support personnel. The local community group will distribute the backpacks to newly arrived Afghan families.
The campus-wide project came about after MCC student and Afghanistan native Sulaiman Limar met with HGHRP student leaders earlier this year to discuss Afghan families’ plight. As advocates for human rights, HGHRP members take action by educating and organizing events, such as a school supply drive.
Within two weeks of the drive held in October and November, HGHRP collected over 200 school supply items from MCC students, faculty and staff. Donated items included notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, erasers, scissors and glue sticks. A surplus of backpacks donated by Marvel Entertainment filled the need.
“We stand big on the protection of human rights. Seeing that all these people were going to be displaced in a new country, we knew we needed to do something to help them get comfortable in their new space,” said Sandra Griffith, a vice president and alumna member of HGHRP. “We have all these children and teens starting school. Some of them may grow up to attend MCC. So we want to be able to nurture their learning and have the supplies they need to succeed and to take the pressure off parents so they can focus on getting acclimated to their new space.”
At left, MCC’s HGHRP leaders organized a campus-wide school supply drive to support Afghan families resettling in the Rochester area.