UUCW Joins Allyship NST to help Afghan Refugee Family

by Marilyn Martin-Raymond & Dianne Mann, Refugee Ministry Team

We are off on a very exciting, rewarding and challenging adventure! UUCW has joined the Allyship NST. An ally, as you know, is someone who advocates for groups or individuals who do not come from the same place of privilege. An NST is a Neighborhood Support Team which is comprised of members of our Church, Immanuel Lutheran in Holden, some other congregations yet to be decided, and some other individuals who are unaffiliated with a church. We hope to have 20 – 25 people on the Team which will make the load lighter and bring an even broader opportunity for our Afghan family to settle in their new home and into their new culture and community. If you are interested in learning more about NSTs, go to the WelcomeNST website: https://www.welcomenst.us/
First let me tell you about our family.

  1. Husband
  2. 47 wife
  3. 22 son
  4. 17 son
  5. 14 son
  6. 15 son
  7. 13 son
  8. 10 daughter
  9. 8 daughter
  10. – 8 son
  11. 7 daughter
  12. 5 son

Yes, there are 10 children and 2 parents! Some of the names and ages may not be quite right, but it is definitely a family of 12! I am sure you can see that this is a large task.

They are arriving next Tuesday evening, 1/11, at Bradley Airport. We know their language is Dari but we do not know if any of them speak English. They will be housed in an Airbnb temporarily. Ascentria has a house on George Street that is being de-leaded that hopefully will work out for more permanent housing. 

This is going to take a lot of effort from everyone involved. To that end, the more, the merrier! If you know anyone in any of your circles that would like to join the team, we welcome everyone with open arms. Just let me know.

Some of the areas that we will begin addressing include: fundraising, housing, apartment set up, healthcare, education and transportation. There will be others but this is it for now.

Remember that you need to complete a CORI for Ascentria regardless of any other CORI you may have completed if you will come in direct contact with the family. Please let me know if you need that paperwork or if you have already submitted the paperwork or if your CORI has been approved by Ascentria.

If you are able to donate any money to help us reach our goal of $5000.00, you will bring us closer to obtaining the $5000.00 matching funds from Ascentria. You can donate directly to our fundraising platform here: https://secure.givelively.org/teams/ascentria-care-alliance/help-afghan-families/allyship or you can write a check to Ascentria and put Allyship NST in the memo and send it to Dianne Mann, 21 Ridgewood Road, Worcester MA 01606. All of the money will go for housing, food and all the other costs associated with helping 11 people establish new lives in a new culture and community.

Here are some of the ways you can be involved: 1. Become an AllyshipNST member, 2 participate as needed for specific tasks, 3 donate clothing, household goods or money. You can contact us through this email:

This is a link to a fascinating webinar about Afghan culture: https://youtu.be/AkTBOPTBCwE  

We know you join us in being excited and humbled at the responsibility and honor of being part of a community ready to welcome this brave family.

Dianne Mann and Marilyn Martin, Refugee Ministry Team