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Indiana woman working to establish computer lab for Afghan refugees at Camp Atterbury

LAPTOPS FOR REFUGEES
Posted at 7:51 AM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 10:51:59-04

People are stepping up to lend a helping hand to the more than 6,000 Afghan refugees at Camp Atterbury, a training post operated by the Indiana National Guard.

About 800 troops are on the ground assisting.

Rupal Thanawala of Fishers says she doesn't want education to get left behind since many of the refugees don't know English, so she's establishing a computer lab at the camp and is calling on the community to help.

"47% of guests that we have in Camp Atterbury are under the age of 18," said Thanawala.

As the refugees adapt to their new country, agencies are working to get them the resources they need, like Social Security cards, getting children enrolled in school, and more.

"These individuals needed a better life," said Thanawala.

Thanawala is the vice president for BDPA Indianapolis. She says she wants to make sure the children are set up for success.

With approval from the camp, she's setting up an on-site computer lab and is in need of nearly 100 used laptops and iPads.

"I already have six laptops and iPads ready. Our goal is within one week, we will be able to mobilize to E-learning at camp," said Thanawala.

Thanawala toured Camp Atterbury Thursday.

"It was a very overwhelming feeling but at the same time I felt at peace because I could see our soldiers playing with kids, kicking soccer balls [and] shooting basketball," said Thanawala.

Thanawala says it's our duty to protect those who protected our troops.

"These refugees are friends, contractors, our military people. I'm an Army mom, so I know how important it is to send our sons and daughters to forfeit land but not having people to support them," said Thanawala.

If you would like to donate a used laptop or iPad, make sure the device has been wiped. Don't leave data or photos on the device and make sure it has a charger.

Casted, located at 1032 East Washington Street in Indianapolis, will accept them from 4-6 p.m. on September 28, 30, and October 5 and 7. You can also reach out to Rupal Thanawala at rthanawala@yahoo.com.

This story was originally published by Rachael Wilkerson at WRTV.