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Freedom: why one Afghan woman left home

This summer, our interns attended an ethical storytelling workshop in partnership with the University of Mississippi and Southern Foodways Alliance. To learn the ropes of the industry, they were tasked with interviewing immigrants within their community. Our Employment Services intern, Emma Perry, spoke with Samira, an Afghan refugee who faced religious persecution and now serves as an ambassador to the local Afghan community. This is her story as told to Emma.

“I graduated from high school in Afghanistan, and I was looking for a scholarship to study in Afghanistan. But I was looking to go abroad to study because in Afghanistan it is not safe for girls to study, they do not have that freedom in Afghanistan. It is that if a boy wants to get married you do not need to go study, you get married. Because of this I wished to go abroad to study and further my education. And then I got a scholarship to study in Mongolia, and my university was in English. My English was very basic, and then I started a one-year English language course and then entered university, I did three years of my university in Mongolia. And then I went back to Afghanistan.”

“…During that time, when I was in Afghanistan, some sort of security issue happened. One day, nearby, there was a suicide attack that happened, and it became dangerous there for me because I found Christ in Mongolia. A non-profit organization helped me and sent me to India. I stayed in India for a few months before I got an invitation to return to Mongolia. I finished my senior year, and they offered me a job in the admissions office. After that, it was not safe for me to go back to Afghanistan, so I opened a refugee case in Mongolia, and I got invited to the United States. I arrived in 2017, I went to Colorado Springs, but God had a different plan for me, and I came to Memphis. We moved to Memphis and then after a year my husband came from Australia. We have been here for three years now. My husband and I both have it in our hearts to reach out and help refugees.”

“My first degree was business management, but since I came to the United States I could not find a job with that because the degree was not the same as it is in America. So, I changed my major here, to social work, and I just graduated. Now I have a baby girl and I stay here at home with her. I would like to get an MSW [masters of social work] so that I may help refugees like me, just as World Relief helps them.”

Samira, we are so glad to have you as part of our community, and our prayers are with you, your family, and your country. If you want to make a difference by helping those fleeing Afghanistan or persecution elsewhere, come join us this fall.

If you’re unable to volunteer at this time, please join us in praying for those impacted by the events of this weekend. You can text “Prayer” to 901-617-4411 to get started.

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