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'We feel safe here,' Afghan refugee family settles into new life in Utah

Posted at 9:20 PM, Mar 31, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — In total around 900 Afghan refugees have resettled in Utah over the last year since violence broke out in their home country.

“When the Taliban got military in political power in Afghanistan, they had to leave,” Father Dashukur Ghaznawi said through interpreter Masood Jalil. “He was in danger in Afghanistan. In that time he worked with the US Army in Afghanistan. It was the reason that they came to United States.” 

Their journey started when the Taliban took over Afghanistan, from there they flew to Qatar and then to Germany. After spending two months on a military base in New Mexico, the family was sent to Utah as their final destination.

“We left everything behind in Afghanistan. We miss our families, they're in Afghanistan, we left them behind in Afghanistan.” The family said. 

“It's extremely, extremely rewarding to be able to help” Doug Harris, VP and Fund Manager for the Utah Housing Preservation Fund said to FOX 13 News. “We have helped 15 families from Afghanistan. We have another two moving in this week.”

Since its beginning in 2020, the Utah Preservation Fund has Secured nearly 400 safe and affordable housing units, helped families experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, and helped 15 refugee families.

“First thing is they feel safe,” Harris said. “And the second thing is just gratitude. There's been a lot of tears of gratitude. It's extremely rewarding.” 

“We feel safe here than in another country like in Afghanistan, but we are safe here” Ghaznawi said. 

For this family, Utah already feels like home.

“[There are] very nice people here. When we faced any problem, they helped us a lot,” the family explained. 

The opportunities for education for their kids has been the biggest thing they love about the United States.

“As you know, the Taliban shut the schools doors on girls,” Ghaznawi said. “They're in Afghanistan but we are really happy that my daughter can go to school right now.” 

Their daughter expressed her desire to learn and said, “Thanks to the people kind of the Utah and thanks to my school, my middle school thanks to my teachers they help me a lot. I can study, if I were in Afghanistan I couldn’t.”

Both mom and dad are also going through classes right now to be trained in skills as well as having their kids help them learn English.