Multicultural News

World Refugee Day honors strength, courage nearly 10 months after Afghanistan evacuations

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Nearly 10 months ago thousands of Afghans were forced out of the country. Many settled in Indiana, and many are honoring their strength and courage on World Refugee Day.

Five minutes is how long Najia Sherzad Hoshmand says her family had to pack up a few items and head to the airport. Although a harrowing experience, her family was excited to get out. Now they are settling into life in Indiana, and she’s helping guide others.

It’s been a journey, but Sherzad Hoshmand and her husband have turned their southside apartment into a home. Watching the children play, you’ll find no sign of the journey it took to get here.

“We were excited to leave because we were not safe there anymore. Our lives were at risk,” Hoshmand said.

August 15 the Taliban took control in Kabul. Two days later, the family received urgent news: you have five minutes to leave. It put everyone into a panic, not able to do anything but pack up the children and gather up important documents.

“And that was such a short time. I couldn’t understand and couldn’t figure out what we are going to do in this five minutes,” Hoshmand said.

It was a journey just getting to America, and once getting here Camp Atterbury became their new home. Being fluent in English helped the family navigate social services and find jobs.

“That’s not everyone’s reality. There are families where adults and kids they don’t speak any English,” Hoshman said.

With little to no English proficiency, the journey is even more rough. Hoshman is volunteering, helping Afghan families in areas others may take for granted. Which includes navigating shopping, trips to the pharmacy, public transportation and their rights and responsibilities.

Although adapting take works, she’s grateful her children have quickly found their place.

“And I can see that they have have adapted. and they are fine they are OK they have made friends,” Hoshman said.

Right now many families only receive support for 90 days, so it’s been a challenge for many to become self-sufficient in that time.

In the mean time, Hoshmand is working on establishing an Afghan Community Center among other things, while finding a way to get the rest of her family out of Afghanistan.