Recent Afghan refugee creating a new life for himself and his family in Maine

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Zameer Safi and his family fled Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power last August, and have lived in Portland for nine months. has learned since immigrating to the United States, but during our interview on Friday, we used a Dari translator so he could speak more comfortably in his native language. Placement and assistance program to lead the service effort in the state. In addition to providing services, CCM first placed the family in a hotel for two months, then paid their security deposit and the first month’s rent for their apartment. The challenge right now is housing. The rent is very expensive. “In Afghanistan, he owned a construction company with 25 employees, but here he works 20 hours a week taking orders at a McDonald’s drive-thru to support his wife and their four children. ren, 6 months old at age 9. The family left Afghanistan after spending two days at the chaotic airport in the capital of Kabul, departing on a US military cargo plane for Kuwait, then on to Washington, D.C. DC, before landing at Camp Atterbury Army Base, Indiana. Two months later, they traveled to Maine. Safi’s aunt, a US citizen, lives in Westbrook. Safi said, ” I’m not very good with the cold, but the reason I like Maine is that it’s smaller, it’s not too crowded, and it has a better education system for kids. children.” the first 10 years of his life, with his six brothers and sisters, under the repressive regime of are Taliban. He said: “It was not a happy life. Not a good education system.” After 9/11 and the US invasion to overthrow the Taliban for giving refuge to the perpetrators of the terrorist attack, Al-Qaeda, Safi said his family temporarily left Kabul for the his parents’ hometown three hours away. “Kabul was being shelled by the US military,” he said. “The most important thing is that we were very scared. He said: “So I’m happy. I’m relieved, and the good thing is that at least there’s no war and no explosion. Over there, every morning when you wake up, you wake up with an explosion.” Now 31, he hopes to obtain lawful permanent resident status – a green card. “If we could get permanent residence, that would be a big help. I’m stressed about it, but otherwise we’re happy,” Safi said. “I have a big dream, I would like to have my own business, my own outsourcing business. arrivals and assisting some with applications for political asylum. The Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine welcomed two dozen newcomers. The United States welcomed approximately 50,000 Afghans to the United States last year on humanitarian parole.

Zameer Safi and his family fled Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power last August, and have lived in Portland for nine months.

“I’m doing big, big plans for the US military,” he said, using some of the English he’s learned since immigrating to the US, but in our Friday interview , we used a Dari translator so he could speak more comfortably in his native language. .

Safi is one of 115 Afghan newcomers settled by Catholic Charities Maine, under contract with the State Department Afghan Placement and Assistance Program lead the service effort in the state.

In addition to providing services, CCM first placed the family in a hotel for two months, then paid their security deposit and the first month’s rent for their apartment.

Safi said: “My big challenge right now is housing. The rent is very expensive.

In Afghanistan, he owned a construction company with 25 employees, but here he works 20 hours a week taking orders at a McDonald’s drive-thru to support his wife and their four children, aged 6 months to 9 years.

The family left Afghanistan after spending two days at the chaotic airport in the capital of Kabul.

They left on a US military cargo plane for Kuwait, then traveled to Washington, DC, before landing at Camp Atterbury Army Base, Indiana.

Two months later, they arrived in Maine. Safi’s aunt, an American citizen, lives in Westbrook.

Safi said: “I’m not very good with the cold, but the reason I like Maine is because it’s smaller, not too crowded, better education system for kids. children.”

Safi spent the first 10 years of her life, with six siblings, under the repressive Taliban regime.

He said, “It was not a happy life. It is not a good education system.

After 9/11 and the US invasion to overthrow the Taliban for giving refuge to the perpetrators of the terror attack, Al-Qaeda, Safi said his family temporarily left Kabul for his parents’ home village three hours away. the.

“Kabul was being shelled by the US military,” he said. “The big problem is that we were very scared.”

Safi said his later work on US and Afghan government projects put him at risk when the Taliban returned to power, causing him to flee.

He said, “So, I’m happy. I’m relieved, and the good thing is that at least there’s no war and no explosion. Over there, every morning when you wake up, you wake up with an explosion.”

Now 31, he hopes to obtain lawful permanent resident status – a green card.

“If we could get permanent residence, that would be a big help. I’m stressed about it, but otherwise we’re happy,” Safi said. “I have a big dream, I would like to have my own business, my own outsourcing business.

Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services has settled 102 Afghan arrivals and is helping some with political asylum applications.

The Southern Maine Jewish Community Alliance welcomed two dozen newcomers.

The total, around 240, has remained stable since March, indicating that an expected second wave of arrivals has not materialized in Maine.

The United States welcomed approximately 50,000 Afghans to the United States last year on humanitarian parole.

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