A young Afghan computer programmer builds her new life

When Sofia*, 25, fled Afghanistan in August 2021, she had a bachelor’s diploma in pc science and a aspiration of generating internet websites that deliver individuals with each other. With assistance from the Worldwide Rescue Committee (IRC), she was in a position to restart her life in the United States, where she hopes to rebuild her job as a pc programmer.

A young woman, with her back to the camera, sits at a desk and types on her laptop.

Sofia uncovered pc science when she was in 11th quality. She claims that the discipline “aids introduce persons to the world and show them what is occurring.”

Photo: Andrew Oberstadt for the IRC

The U.S. has welcomed over 74,000 Afghan refugees since the change in electrical power in August 2021. Several of these refugees ended up forced to flee the only homes they experienced at any time acknowledged.

The IRC has been supporting Afghans like Sofia throughout the nation, welcoming them to U.S. govt-operate “Safe Havens” exactly where they get short term lodging, foodstuff and healthcare treatment. When they go away the Safe and sound Havens, the IRC assists a lot of of them locate housing, employment, health treatment and other necessities.

In this article is Sofia’s story.

How did you develop into intrigued in laptop science?

I was in 11th quality when one of my classmates explained to me about a class on Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Most of us did not have accessibility to personal computers at that time, but we have been identified to get the course.

Following graduating high college, I made the decision to keep on my research in this discipline simply because I experienced grown extremely fond of it. I was fascinated in generating internet sites that others could study from and use freely.

What was your college expertise like in Afghanistan?

For the 1st two years, I was in a government school and afterward I analyzed in a private college for two several years. My male classmates in Afghanistan confronted me various moments,  declaring that laptop science was a career not intended for females, and that I necessary to opt for a profession “designed” for gals. I was bullied and discriminated versus. They had been not completely ready to rely me in their group. 

With all of that hardship, I did not produce. I did not shed my hope and I wanted to go in advance. I later transferred to a personal college, wherever 50 % the learners had been female.

I did not generate. I did not shed my hope and I needed to go in advance.

There are several road blocks in opposition to woman schooling in Afghanistan, like absence of loved ones and group support, faculties that are considerably absent, and a deficiency of woman instructors. Individually, I did have my family’s assist but I did not have the help of the common society. 

A young woman stands in a doorway holding a laptop.

“I want to be a person who can aid many others,” Sofia stated. “I want to obtain means to support those who do not have an understanding of or will not have accessibility to technological know-how.”

Photograph: Andrew Oberstadt for the IRC

How did you evacuate from Afghanistan?

In August 2021, instantly the problem turned really chaotic. Absolutely everyone panicked and was frightened for their lives. 

In the closing times when I was leaving, everything was dire and men and women have been particularly nervous because they were being seeking to leave. I was also anxious that the situation may possibly get even even worse. No one particular understood what was heading to come about to them.

When I arrived at the airport, I could not feel so several persons experienced presently come. I considered I may not be capable to enter the airport, but after a large amount of struggles I was equipped to get on a flight.

My brother and I were being able to depart but our mom, who has arthritis, was not capable to make it to the airport in time. She now life in Kabul all by itself, with no 1 to assistance with her clinical needs. 

How has your working experience in the U.S. been?

We arrived to the U.S. on September 6. My goal was to come right here and just have a existence. I feel 80% of women who are in Kabul want the exact. They want freedom, independence of wondering, liberty of instruction. Their would like is to arrive at what they are dreaming about.

The IRC has generally, from my issue of see, served all people. When I initial arrived here I was taken care of pretty nicely and all the questions I had ended up answered.  For instance, they launched us to many corporations that aided us with primary necessities. They also helped us to relocate near to family members users. I want the IRC even far more results in aiding Afghans. I actually thank them simply because what they do is a large deal for us.

Two young women sit across from each other at a desk.

The IRC has been supporting Afghans like Sofia throughout the nation.

Photo: Andrew Oberstadt for the IRC

The moment I arrived in this article, I thought, ‘I obtained all I desired and now I can prevail over any issues.’ It was a strange sensation to know I can realize regardless of what I have planned for.

What are your vocation aims and desires?

I want to be a human being who can enable many others. I seriously like operating in networking and IT. I want to obtain means to assistance people who you should not recognize or do not have obtain to technological innovation.

I also want to make a web page like Google, Facebook and Instagram due to the fact these applications carry all people with each other. Laptop science aids introduce people to the entire world and exhibit them what is happening.

I want to make a web-site like Google, Fb and Instagram mainly because these apps carry everybody together.

I am extremely determined to get to my aims. I want to set up myself in the United States and with any luck , sponsor my mother to arrive right here.

What are your hopes for Afghanistan?

It was often my would like that peace be established in my country and ladies like me could access all their wishes and goals. I do not want my country and its folks to go backwards.

There are hundreds of girls in Kabul like me who desire to study, carry on their training, work in the subject they opt for, be lively in modern society, and enable their fellow Afghans.

My personal desire is to enable the men and women of Afghanistan so they can have far better life. If I one day meet up with a woman who is in Kabul and she has a whole lot of fascination in computer science, I will tell her to under no circumstances eliminate hope and to not give up on her dreams. There will be a working day when factors will be okay and she will carry on her training.

A young woman, with her back to the camera, sits at a desk and types on her laptop.

“My personal dream is to support the people today of Afghanistan so they can have greater lives,” Sofia told the IRC.

Photograph: Andrew Oberstadt for the IRC

What do you want the U.S. to know about Afghan refugees?

My message to the people today of the U.S. is to assist the Afghans who have occur listed here, for the reason that they had been in actually bad shape when they left their region. Every little thing is new for them because they have come to a really various position. And I thank People in america for assisting us so much. 

*Pseudonym used for security

How you can enable Afghan refugees 

The IRC operates in 25 towns throughout the region to welcome Afghans, Ukrainians and other refugees as they rebuild their life in the U.S. Here’s how you can help: 

Donate by signing up for a regular reward that will be made use of the place it is wanted most. 

Master how you can aid a area IRC place of work near you. 

Volunteer in a local business office or remotely. Chances include planning new households for refugee family members, mentoring someone as they restart their career and tutoring pupils. 

Sponsor an Afghan family. Recognized corporations, this sort of as companies, university communities, religion groups, sports teams or regional golf equipment can turn out to be Afghan Placement and Support (APA) Neighborhood Partners to help households get on their ft. 

Lease to a refugee. If you are a landlord, discover out how you can rent to a refugee.