Hoosiers helping Afghan refugees inside the gates of Camp Atterbury

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — Some Hoosiers are now getting the opportunity to go behind the gates of Camp Atterbury and help the more than 6,000 Afghan refugees there.

Angela Bratina, the Administrative Director for Women’s and Children’s at Franciscan Health, went into the camp on Friday, Sept. 10.

Along with a team of five other Franciscan nurses, Bratina helped to vaccinate refugees, care for pregnant women, and more.

“It was great, we got to play with a couple of the kids and just show them compassion and I think that is the most important thing,” Bratina said.

Bratina said Camp Atterbury reminded her of a college campus, barracks that looked like dorms, lots of open green spaces, but also medical tents set up all over the place focused on treating Afghans and getting everyone all the correct vaccines.

“It seemed like people were comfortable there and looked like they felt safe,” she said.

But Bratina also noticed a lot of need.

That is where Zahra Ayoubi comes in, she and a group of Hoosiers are working to raise money through a GoFundMe to buy clothes and anything else the refugees might need.

“They don’t have any jackets, they don’t have proper shoes, socks, so there is a lot that needs to be done to meet their basic needs,” Ayoubi said.

Ayoubi is also getting the opportunity to go into Camp Atterbury and see what the refugees need most of all.

“It’s going to be both an exciting and emotional moment for me to see what is happening there,” she said.

Ayoubi was born in Afghanistan and speaks Dari, she said she’s looking forward to talking with the refugees in their native language.

“Just to talk, tell me what their need is, how they feel, just to be a listening ear,” she said.

Ayoubi said her plan is to see what is most needed, use the money from the GoFundMe and get what the refugees need.

“Hopefully we are able to organize something as fast as we can to provide them with the basic needs that they are in dire need of right now,” she said.

Ayoubi said they are very grateful for any donation made from the GoFundMe, 100% of the proceeds will go toward helping Afghan refugees in Camp Atterbury.

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