By CBSLA Staff

MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA) – Local volunteers are putting together kits to help Afghan refugees transition to a new life in Southern California.

For more than a decade, Afghan American Nazia Etimadi of Mission Viejo has been a lifeline for refugees that have resettled in the southland. She’s now preparing for a wave of people to arrive from her homeland.

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“I don’t know if they’re couples, families, widows, children, that was not specified, and we don’t know when, but they said soon,” Etimadi said.

With help from the local Afghan community, Etimadi gathers everything a newcomer might need, like furniture, bedding, school supplies appliances and toys. She’s made a name for herself as the woman to call when immigrants are moving into their first home.

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“This is amazing. Nazia devoted all her life to help refugees, and clothes and everything,” Nahid Piloti Hossein, a social worker, said. “Myself, the go to person is Nazia. When I have something, when I gather furniture or clothing or everything household, I go to Nazia and I drop it to the backyard.”

Afghan women are mobilizing locally. They will volunteer as translators and step in when needed, to make the transition easier as the immigrants look for housing, healthcare, schools and ways to get around.

“I love my country, but this is the only thing I can do for my Afghans, you know. If they come here, I will try to support them. I will try to empower them that if there is an Afghanistan again one day, they can go back and build it,” Etimadi said.

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The challenge for Etimadi is finding a place spacious enough to store all of the items she’s collected. She’s hoping that someone with a warehouse will volunteer to keep the supplies until the refugees are settled.