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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

But My Soul Is In Afghanistan | Georgia State University Magazine

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Meet the Courageous Young Women Chasing Hope Away from the Taliban 

Six Afghan ladies escaped the city just days after the Taliban gained control of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. They have relocated to Atlanta and will study English at Georgia State University until December 2022 on a scholarship. It would be a vast understatement to say that it has been a long and challenging path, but the road ahead won’t be any easier. She saw explosions close and people dying as armed Taliban approached her windows. The AUW students awaited orders from AUW officials who had organized transportation to the airport, where they would catch an international flight. 

They circled Hamid Karzai International Airport for more than forty hours in seven buses before being evacuated. Each day, a portion of the group would learn that an American institution had sponsored them. Alizada was forced to bid farewell to her closest friend, who was leaving for Brown University. John Bunting, who runs the Intensive English Program at Georgia State University, helped acquire scholarships for the ladies. A group of Afghan refugees relocated to the Georgia State University of West Virginia and assisted six AUW students in their relocation into a residence hall on campus. 

A GoFundMe campaign was created to assist the ladies with their daily expenditures. Donations. University Dining Services introduced an employment opportunity for students to earn their own money. Shafie, Alizada, and colleagues are concluding their first semester of intense English study in Atlanta. University Housing has arranged unused goods from previous tenants into a “dorm store.” Students were welcome to pick free items to make their room seem more customized and homey. Bunting and Larsson also assisted them in opening their American bank accounts, empowering them to handle their funds independently.  

Though grateful for their safety, they grieve over the future of their nation, and the separation of their families. Alizada states that she is overcome with sadness for everything that she has lost and shame because she could escape Afghanistan while others were unable to. 

The Therapy Center at Georgia State University has arranged individual and group counseling sessions for the ladies. The AUW is in discussions with the New University in Exile Consortium to assist scholars worldwide. In the following months, AUW will go to Georgia State University to meet with President Brian Blake. Hoping to help the students have every opportunity to get seats in undergraduate programs  and obtain legal authorization to reside in the United States. The application procedure is arduous and rigorous, but the institution has prepared for free legal representation. Larsson notes the have a profound belief that they want to do good in the world. 

Source: https://news.gsu.edu/magazine/but-my-soul-is-in-afghanistan/ 



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