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Why We Welcome: The Joy We See

Please hear from Sarah Adnan, World Relief Chicagoland Staff Member

I am Sarah Adnan and I work in a program that works with Afghan women that provides them extended cultural orientation classes teaching them many different topics like digital literacy, pharmaceutical care, laws in the U.S., and schooling options. Some of these women have never been to school, never been in a classroom, or even held a pencil before. We do the work to teach these women self-confidence and hope, and hopefully empower them to take ownership of their life and future. My favorite story was seeing a woman we had in our class last year that struggled with finding confidence using technology come back to class this year teaching other women how to get on zoom to attend and English Language class with a smile on her face.

Another story that inspires me was a seeing a quiet and shy woman speak up for the first time in class and watch as she continues to find that inner confidence to speak up. This woman was probably never given a chance to share her voice freely, but this program gives her the opportunity to as well as unleash her skills and talents and celebrate them!

Working at World Relief touches home for me, because it welcomed me and my family back when I first arrived in the U.S. in 2008. I remember as a 12-year-old that it felt like angels were walking alongside me and my family guiding us towards success. I remember feeling like my true self around these people that helped us. I grew up and developed a passion to do the same for others. When I decided to work at World Relief, I was interviewed by the case manager that was assigned to my family when we first arrived. It was a full circle moment for me, and I knew then it was coming back home. I do this work because it inspires me every day to learn from these women as well as everyone I come across at World Relief, whether it is staff, a client, or a volunteer.

To learn means to grow; to grow means to inspire; to inspire means to change. And that’s what I love to do, change someone’s life. Even if it’s putting a smile on their face! This is the joy I see.

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