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Afghanistan natives living in Charlotte work with volunteer groups to help refugees

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 5:40 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Several local organizations in Charlotte are gearing up to assist refugees from Afghanistan.

It’s work they have done for years, but the past few weeks have been their busiest as they have been in communication with people trying to escape Kabul.

The men and women behind these groups also have personal experiences that brought them into this line of work and many have family members still in Afghanistan.

Nasreen Naushad escaped Afghanistan in 1980 during the Soviet invasion.

“The whole world were welcoming us,” Naushad said. “It was so nice, we had two sponsorships one from Alabama, one from Charlotte. But these people don’t have that chance.”

It’s why she works with local organization Welcome Home Charlotte, connecting refugees to resources like jobs and housing.

“First and foremost they’re human beings,” Naushad said. “They are in a bad situation. This is the time that we need to help them as a human being.”

As the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, back in Charlotte, Ziaulhaq Ghafoori, a former interpreter in Afghanistan for the US Army, started working with his group Interpreting Freedom Foundation to get other interpreters out.

“We were working on their documents and paperwork and sending them to the right people to help all those SIVs that they fought shoulder to shoulder with,” Ghafoori said.

But he says they were not able to get everyone out in time.

“The United States promises all those Afghan allies that they will get those Afghans to safety if anything comes up, but today those promises are broke,” Ghafoori said.

Naushad feels that same sadness, her two brothers and their families are still in Kabul.

“I wish with my American passport I can go to the airport I could bring as many as I can,” she said.

For now, she’s pushing through her pain by preparing to help the ones lucky enough to get out and start a new life in North Carolina.

“I speak both languages English and Persian, so of course I feel it’s my duty to help these people as much as I can,” she said.

The organizations are busy preparing for the arrival of refugees.

Welcome Home Charlotte is already working with about 30 refugee families, three of which recently arrived from Afghanistan.

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