In addition to our ongoing programs, GAIN responds to emergent needs with short-term projects. These projects are necessary innovations, born of the rising needs of our communities, as well as their lack of access to the relief that is available to others. In 2021 GAIN launched Project Ally in response to the crisis in Afghanistan. Informed by our partners at American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Georgia-Alabama Chapter and the Refugee Women’s Network, Project Ally began as a local assistance hotline for Afghan families in Georgia. Calls quickly began to come in from across the world. To power our response, GAIN recruited additional assistance from local pro bono leaders and, through a partnership with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), volunteer student assistance from several of the country’s top law schools. Our immigration relief effort resulted in the filing of over 200 humanitarian parole applications for displaced Afghans in its first months of operation. Now, Project Ally provides monthly Pro Se Asylum Clinics and immigration support to Afghans in Georgia, in partnership local refugee resettlement agencies.
With our community by our side, GAIN has grown from our founding in 2005 as a volunteer project into a leading force in Georgia’s humanitarian immigration landscape. Short-term projects like this one are necessary innovations, born of the rising needs of immigrants in Georgia who might otherwise fall through the cracks of our legal system. Project Ally has become a shining example of GAIN’s collaborative efforts with our partners to meet community needs, and our shared dedication to GAIN’s vision of safety, freedom, and opportunity for all.
Now in its second year, GAIN has partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Atlanta to extend our reach and create partnerships with local refugee resettlement agencies, including our new Pro Se Asylum Clinics for Afghans in Georgia. At the clinics, each participant’s visit starts with an orientation: attorneys and legal volunteers in one room, and clients — alongside a translator speaking Dari or Pashto — in another. While the volunteers learn about the protected grounds for asylum and what questions to ask, the client families learned about their possible pathways to legal status in the U.S., what it means to be targeted as an individual, and how the process works. By the end of the day, each family will map out their declaration — an important first step towards asking for asylum in the U.S.
Since August 2021, Project Ally has:
- filed almost 300 applications for humanitarian parole
- engaged more than 30 volunteer attorneys to work with Afghan clients
- launched a series of pro se asylum clinics to help Afghan families
- built pathways toward closer collaboration with our partners, including resettlement agencies
As we work to assist our Afghan neighbors through immigration services, we will need your support in three major ways:
- We need donations, which will cover the cost of this effort, clients’ filing fees, interpretation and translation, etc. Donate now to fund GAIN’s work, or give a designated donation to Project Ally.
- We need volunteers. We are consistently recruiting legal and non-legal volunteers through a sign-up form to help with intakes/screenings, provide language assistance (especially in Farsi or Pashto), and assist with immigration filings for the families who qualify.
- We need you to spread the word. We have an ongoing need for community outreach to families in need of assistance, funders, and volunteers. Help us spread the word by sharing this webpage with your networks or contact GAIN to request more information about how you can help.
To request information about immigration assistance for Afghan nationals, or for volunteer information, please email email@example.com.