Olathe student helped her parents navigate green card process. Her new nonprofit supports other immigrants.

Eye of an Immigrant founder Komal Kaur wanted to create a resource to help immigrants navigate the challenges they might face after coming to the United States. Photo by Lucie Krisman

Roughly a year ago, Olathe East High School junior Komal Kaur started working to fill a gap she’d noticed in Kansas. 

Kaur moved to Olathe from New York City four years ago. Compared to her former home, Kaur said she noticed Kansas lacked resources to help people navigate the often-complicated immigration process. 

So with the help of a friend, she formed the Eye of an Immigrant organization in hopes of fixing that. 

Now recently graduated from high school, Kaur is headed to the University of Kansas this fall, but she plans to continue working on the project.

Eye of an Immigrant is recognized as a nonprofit in Kansas and is in the process of getting 501(c)3 certified, which would allow it to be recognized as a charitable organization and be tax-exempt under federal law.

“Overall, we’ve received a really positive response to what we’re trying to build here,” Kaur said. 

What the project does

Kaur said Eye of an Immigrant has three main goals for immigrants and first-generation children of immigrants: 

  • funding filing fees for green card applications and other immigration documents,
  • providing a platform to tell their stories
  • and connecting them to resources, including legal, employment and housing resources on top of resources for mental health, which Kaur said can sometimes be stigmatized among immigrant communities.

“Some of them might have anxiety or have depression or be in stages of grieving but just don’t know what the label is for that,” she said.

Drawing from personal experience

Kaur’s parents immigrated to the United States from Punjab, a state in northwest India.  

She helped them navigate their own green card applications, their naturalization process to become American citizens and also with job applications. 

Kaur said seeing what barriers her parents faced throughout these different challenges helped provide her with perspective on what immigrants and their children needed most and how an organization like Eye of an Immigrant could help. 

“Seeing my parents struggle and go through the things they had to go through really pushed me forward to do anything in life and was a really big motivator for me,” she said.

The nonprofit is focused on the Kansas City metro for now, but Kaur said she’d like to expand it to help as many people as possible in other places, too. 

“Nobody should have to struggle that hard to build real roots in a new country,” Kaur said. “Being able to take my challenges and seeing what my family went through and being able to help another family that’s currently going through that is really the ultimate goal.”