BPS prepares to welcome Afghan refugees as they make Buffalo their new home


BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Public School District is getting ready to welcome young refugees from Afghanistan.

“We are always ready. We always welcome our immigrants and refugees but we know in this situation, this group of Afghan students, are leaving in such a rush that they’ll have multiple needs,” said Nadia Nashir, who’s the assistant superintendent for multilingual education in the school district.

Nashir says the district will be focusing on three key areas to help the new students. It includes making sure students and their families feel welcomed, catering to students’ mental and emotional needs and helping academically.

“We can only imagine what they’ve gone through in Afghanistan, people that they’ve left behind, so that’s going to take a toll on them and we know that it’s hard to learn when your heart and mind is somewhere else,” Nashir says.

“We need to not only be prepared to address the language, and cultural needs and adjustments that need to be made, but also address trauma social emotional development and mental health,” said school board member Larry Scott.

The district has more than 200 English as a second language teachers, who will wok with the students to help them stay on top of their studies. There’s no exact timeline for when students from Afghanistan will arrive in Buffalo, but Nashir says it could be “any day now.”

“We know that today’s immigrants are tomorrow’s innovators in America,” she said. “We want to provide an environment where they feel supported, challenged, where they can thrive and call Buffalo their home.”

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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