The Los Rios district extends a helping hand to Afghan students


Rianne Herrera

A listening and support session was held over Zoom on Thursday to provide resources to Los Rios students, who are affected by the events in Afghanistan. A variety of guest speakers provided information on counseling center resources, resettlement agencies and mental health resources for Afghan students.

A Zoom meeting was held to provide support and resources to Los Rios students affected by the recent events in Afghanistan on Thursday.
The event was hosted by Olga Prizhbilov, the director of the Los Rios Refugees Career Pathways program. The meeting also included guest speakers from Los Rios community partners, who provided information on counseling center resources, resettlement agencies and mental health resources for Afghan students.
“I would want students to feel that they have somebody who’s there for them, whether that’s on an emotional level or a mental health level,” Prizhbilov said. “So it’s to create a sense of acceptance and then also to inform students of the resources that are available to them.”
CRC Counselor Ea Edwards gave some information on how Afghan students can reach out to counselors for help in academic planning and mental health referrals.
She advised students to speak with their professors directly if they are struggling in their classes as a result of the events in Afghanistan, and assured students that many professors will be willing to assist them.
Luke Johnson, of the International Rescue Committee, was one of the guest speakers who provided information on resettlement agencies as well as career and scholarship opportunities.
Johnson said the IRC has career development services with all Los Rios schools focusing on information technology, healthcare, education, administrative and finance fields. Johnson also shared information about Opening Doors Inc., a program that provides small business loans and assistance.
“Our goal in working with refugees is to provide higher skills training as well as employment opportunities specifically for refugees in Sacramento,” Johnson said. “We’ve been running these programs for over four years now. I’m excited to say that it works.”
Atiqullah Rahimi attended on behalf of Asian Resources Inc. to offer their services to Afghan students as well. These services include employment services, English classes, citizenship classes and more.
Los Rios mental health resources were shared by LRCCD Mental Health and Wellness Interim Director Chase Moore. Moore said that up to 12 sessions with a licensed therapist are available to students, and that more information can be found at the Center for Mental Health and Wellness.
As the meeting concluded, many of the attendants expressed gratitude to Prizhbilov and the other speakers for answering specific questions and providing general resources.
“For the Afghan newcomers who are coming from Afghanistan through the evacuation process, we had so many questions that this event gave us answers for those questions,” said 31-year-old computer science major Sayed Edres Sadiqi.
Prizhbilov said it was her intent to hold another meeting to discuss resources for Afghan students, and held a poll on the possibility of the next meeting being held in-person instead of Zoom.
“It is exactly helpful not just for me, but for a lot of Afghan people,” said 29-year-old Bibi Fatima Akhtar, who is a gender science major. “We just wait for something like that. We talk to each other and we are just so happy.”
More resources for Afghan students from the Los Rios district and its partners can be found through Refugee Career Pathways.