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Sorrow amidst dreams

When Nazia, her husband and three children arrived in Memphis in 2019, they came with the hope of providing a safe future for their daughters and son. 

Nazia’s husband had worked for a company that helped with different projects for the U.S. in Afghanistan, and Nazia herself had worked with the BBC/AEPO in their human resources department. As a result, their family was viewed as traitors and targeted by the Taliban. 

“In Afghanistan, I worked as a human resources administrator for 8 years, including with the BBC,” Nazia said. “My husband and I were working in Afghanistan with very great projects.” 

Yet because of threats on their life, they were forced to come to the United States on Special Immigrant Visas. Her husband sold their car, and within a short time they were arriving in Memphis, a city they had chosen based off the recommendation of a cousin. Upon arrival, Nazia and her family were welcomed by World Relief Memphis

“World Relief helped us a lot so we didn’t face any problems because [they] trained us in everything,” said Nazia, 31. “They trained us how we can call the emergency line, how we can go to the market like Kroger or Walmart. World Relief helped a lot with everything.” 

Each month, a case worker went to their house to check in on the family. After just five months, World Relief’s employment department had helped her husband find a job with Amazon. 

“They helped us with the resume and everything, and they also applied for us,” she explained. “We didn’t have a laptop, so [a caseworker] helped, and we are very happy with him. He helped us a lot, and he’s a very good person.” 

A year later, Nazia herself began to work with Shelby County’s Emergency Rent and Utilities Assistance Program thanks to the help of that same caseworker. One day, she would like to return to a role in human resources, but for now she loves her job. 

Thanks to the support of World Relief and the individuals who came around them, Nazia and her family have been able to begin rebuilding their lives in the U.S. Her daughters are free to pursue their dreams in safety. 

“I would love for my daughter to become a great doctor in the future, so I hope, I pray,” Nazia said, whose oldest daughter is in the 3rd grade. “She said that she wants to be a doctor in the future, and she’s trying to learn more and more.” 

If Nazia and her family were still home, this dream might not be possible because of the Taliban regime’s treatment of women. Knowing that, she cannot help but worry for the family and country that she left behind. 

“It’s not one person, two people, not even one hundred—it’s more like a million people,” she said. “We can understand the U.S. force’s situation too, and we pray for them that they can help them.” 

Nazia, thank you for sharing your story. We are praying alongside you for the safety of your family and home country. 

If you want to help welcome our Afghan allies arriving in the coming weeks, it’s not too late. Come to a volunteer orientation, help furnish homes or perhaps buy a limited-edition t-shirt that supports their resettlement. 

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