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Afghan family speaks about journey to U.S. and resettling on the Central Coast

Posted at 6:58 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 01:43:11-04

Earlier this year, KSBY News spoke to the non-profit SLO4 Home, an organization aimed at helping Afghan refugees establish new lives on the Central Coast.

Some of those families have since arrived and are settling into their new homes.

Maria, John, and Ava, whose names have been changed for the purpose of this story due to concerns over their family's safety, traveled roughly 7,500 miles from Afghanistan to the Central Coast.

It’s been about two months since they left their home country, fleeing a 20-year-long war that left them and their whole family in danger.

“The whole life in Afghanistan is dangerous. Once you get out of your home in the morning to do something, to go to work, you weren’t sure if you were going to [make it] back home safe or not," John said.

John worked alongside the U.S. military as an interpreter at the U.S Embassy in Kabul from 2019 to August 2021.

He said the job came with many risks, including being followed home or potentially becoming a target for the enemy. His wife and sister-in-law also faced struggles just being women in Afghanistan.

“Like all of the basic things that women don’t have the rights in Afghanistan, but I can see here women have their own life. They are working, they are studying, you know, everything," said John's wife, Maria.

Rights to education or work were stripped away in Afghanistan.

Ava said she now feels so happy she can ride her bike freely, something she couldn't do back home.

“It was a dream for me to cycle. I asked my mom to buy me a cycle and she said you are not at the age to cycle because women don’t cycle there," Ava said.

Maria and John have a little girl by their side with hopes she'll become a doctor in the future.

“My daughter is so happy, you know. That makes me so happy with the freedom she has... I see her future of her so bright. That makes me so happy," said Maria.

For John, Maria and Ava, it's been eight months since they've seen the rest of their family members who remain in Afghanistan.

SLO4Home said their goal is to be able to help eight to ten Afghan families resettle on the Central Coast with hopes of also helping Ukrainian refugees.

The nonprofit says they anticipate each family’s relocation to cost between $60,000 to $80,000. They help with housing, transportation, and any basic necessities

To help with donations, you can visit this website.