New York, NY, March 31, 2022 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC), in partnership with The Independence Fund, is excited to announce the launch of the Virtual Afghan Placement and Assistance (VAPA) program. This initiative will provide remote program support, including direct assistance, to Afghan parolees who independently departed Safe Havens and have not yet been able to access resettlement support services.
Through VAPA, Afghan nationals who entered as parolees and are not assigned to a Resettlement Agency will receive additional support accessing benefits and documentation, enrolling children in school and seeking employment.
Hans Van de Weerd, IRC Senior Vice President, said:
"Operation Allies Welcome was the largest evacuation event since the Vietnam War - with over 73,000 Afghans parolees arriving in the U.S. in a matter of weeks. IRC is working with the Independence Fund to ensure these individuals are met with the support they need to rebuild their lives. VAPA is a great example of an innovation in refugee resettlement that is a critical part of the U.S. government's continued efforts to rebuild the refugee admissions program. We look forward to continuing to work with the government on similar efforts in the future."
Sarah Verardo, CEO of The Independence Fund, said:
“We are grateful to provide this service for Afghans and their family members – we recognize that they will continue to need support and we are here for them for as long as it takes."
All Afghan nationals in the United States can access the Independence Line by calling 1-855-341-5456, Monday-Friday 8am-7pm EST. If applicable, Afghan nationals will be referred to IRC for verification and enrollment into VAPA services if eligible. Afghan nationals can also access this program by emailing the Independence Line at: [email protected].
These virtual Afghan Placement and Assistance activities conducted under this agreement are paid for, in part, through financial assistance provided by the Department of State.