RIVERDALE, MARYLAND —
Sahar, 11, and her siblings are setting up an apartment in Riverdale, Maryland, that will soon be the new home for a refugee family from Ethiopia.
"I came here to help," she said. "I am happy."
Sahar and her family are refugees themselves. They recently came from Afghanistan and live in a nearby apartment that was also fully furnished and ready for them to move in when they arrived a few months ago.
The volunteers say they want to repay the generosity they received when they came to America.
"When I came here, I was confused," said Sajid Malik. "Today, I feel good by helping here because I have seen a difficult time like this."
A Maryland-based nonprofit called Kindworks runs the program that helps refugees settle in.
"We work with resettlement agencies," said Salma Hasan Ali of Kindworks. "We find out from them which family is arriving when. Then we reach out to our members and ask them for items we need for a home."
So far, Kindworks has set up 17 apartments for refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and several African countries.
"We are able to harness so much love, interest and care from Americans who know these refugees are coming," said Alexa Clark Abdelatey of Kindworks. "They want them to feel welcome, which is so meaningful."
In a few hours, the apartment is ready and waiting for its new residents who will soon arrive to start their new lives.