Help Afghan evacuees in Newburyport

Tuesday January 11, 2022

Newburyport – The Women in Action Huddle of Greater Newburyport is hosting a meeting focused on how to best help Afghan evacuees as they start their new lives in Newburyport. The Zoom Meeting, which requires pre-registration, will be held on Wednesday, February 2 at 6:30 p.m.  “Welcoming Our New Neighbors from Afghanistan” will include an informal Q&A with Fulbright scholar and Rubia Handwork founder Rachel Lehr and a talk with the Rev. Dr. Jarred Mercer, who spearheaded his community into receiving families into temporary housing at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. 

We now have families who have fled Afghanistan making their new homes here in our community. The evacuees face great challenges and change. They are in need to our help — from volunteering to take them to Mosque or shopping to ESL and walks to acclimate to their new homes,” said Paula Estey, Executive Director of the PEG Center for Art & Activism and founder of the Women in Action Huddle of Newburyport. “We can help their comfortability by learning their customs and hearing from the people who are actively working to help them adjust.” 

Rachel Lehr earned her PhD in linguistics from the University of Chicago writing a descriptive grammar of Pashai, a minority language spoken in eastern Afghanistan. For more than 25 years, Lehr’s work has addressed the languages and cultures of central and south Asia, while living and working in the region. In 2000, she helped found the non-profit Rubia Handwork, to develop economic opportunities through craft heritage for Afghan women and their families. Her research examines language and poetry, gendered geographies, diasporic narratives, and international aid and development. Her latest book, “The Carpetbaggers of Kabul and other American-Afghan Entanglements,” co-authored with Jennifer Fluri, explores the everyday actions of people associated with the international effort in the post 9/11 era. 

The Rev. Dr. Jarred Mercer, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, grew up in Florida, but spent the last 11 years with his family in Europe, mainly in Oxford, England, as well as Scotland and Paris. He received a doctorate in theology from Oxford University with a focus on early Christian history. He also served as a priest in the Church of England. Mercer is the author of four books: “Love Makes No Sense: An Invitation to Christian Theology” (2019), “Divine Perfection and Human Potentiality: The Trinitarian Anthropology of Hilary of Poitiers” (2019), and “Catechesis: An Invitation to Living Faith” (2020). A new book “Love Makes Things Happen” is forthcoming.  

To register in advance for this meeting, please visit: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

“Our goal is to find ways in which we can help these efforts, both locally and globally,” said Estey. “This speaks to the Huddle’s mission of community action, as we embark on our fifth year of service.” 

The Huddle is a support and activist group that encourages women and girls to participate in social activism and community initiatives while being supported in a friendly, loving group. Through monthly meetings, fundraising projects, environmental actions and community service, the group works for all of humanity and the environment. All are welcome to participate.  

The PEG Center for Art & Activism is a non profit organization that accepts any amount of  donation at to help continue its mission.   

The mission of the PEG Center for Art & Activism is to provide clients and visitors with the transcendent beauty of contemporary art and to be a catalyst for conscious change. The center seeks to elevate the quality of community and lives through creative expression, engaging conversations, and committed action and to create and nurture programming to address human rights, social justice and the environment. Visit the PEG Center at 3 Harris Street in Newburyport or follow at for events, special programs and more. Paula Estey can be reached at 978-376-4746 or

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