Afghan refugee reflects on life after Taliban takeover; nonprofit gives out laptops to refugees
AUSTIN, Texas - A nonprofit that works with refugees gave them something that many of us take for granted. Global Impact Initiative gave out 80 laptops to help refugees adjust to life in the U.S.
"Computers are no longer a luxury. They're a necessity," Anjum Malik, executive director of Global Impact Initiative said. "[Refugees] can learn English, or men to find jobs, for the women to learn English and for children to get tutored."
Hamad Timori received one of the laptops. "I need to use this," he said.
He's also an Afghan refugee. "We left everything like our other family members," he said. "Everything is different, because in Afghanistan was different, like the culture, everything was different in the U.S."
Kaleemullah Ghazi came to the U.S. a year and a half ago after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
"I was part of the military in Afghanistan, so we were not able to live there anymore," he said. "It was horrible. We were not expecting the Taliban to take over Afghanistan the way it took over."
Ghazi says the Afghan military was always much bigger than the Taliban.
"In the last couple of weeks, they took over all of Afghanistan. How could it be possible? It happens with governments. Within the last four decades in Afghanistan, the governments keep changing. We get used to it. It happens in Afghanistan. Anything can happen," he said.
Ghazi says it was difficult to adjust culturally in the U.S. "It's tough. It's really tough living in the United States," he said.
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After a long journey through various military bases, he finally arrived in Austin. He says he was misguided at the beginning of the journey and was told he wasn't allowed to take anyone with him except for his immediate family.
"I left my mom back in Afghanistan. She's the only one that I miss a lot," he said, adding he hopes to bring her to the U.S. in the future.
He says he wants people to understand that terrorist groups like the Taliban don't define the Afghan people.
"People are thinking that Afghanistan is a country of terrorists. This is absolutely not right," he said. "[The terrorists] are not from Afghanistan. They came from the neighboring countries. They're not Afghans. If they were Afghans, they would not prevent women from schools, they would not prevent people from working, they would not do their brutalities killing and capturing innocent people."
He says those in his home country are struggling.
"All the young people there are trying to flee or get out of Afghanistan. Why, because of lack of jobs. There's nothing to do. They're starving for food," he said.
The holy month of Ramadan starts this week, where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Ghazi says Afghans are committed to the practice, even while struggling to find food.
"Need to have a kind suggestion to the United States government and other agencies or other people, support the Afghan people in Afghanistan, since they're having Ramadan coming up, help them out with food and other things," he said.
Meanwhile, Ghazi is paying it forward himself. He says he already has a computer and will be donating the one he got at the event to another family.
Malik says Global Impact Initiative is always looking for volunteers and donations. For more information, click here.