February 22, 2024


Develop Technology For The Connected World

A youthful Afghan computer system programmer builds her new lifetime

7 min read

When Sofia*, 25, fled Afghanistan in August 2021, she experienced a bachelor’s degree in computer system science and a dream of producing web-sites that deliver people collectively. With assist from the Worldwide Rescue Committee (IRC), she was capable to restart her life in the United States, where by she hopes to rebuild her occupation as a computer system programmer.

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

Sofia uncovered personal computer science when she was in 11th grade. She says that the willpower “aids introduce persons to the entire world and clearly show them what is occurring.”

Photo: Andrew Oberstadt for the IRC

The U.S. has welcomed more than 74,000 Afghan refugees because the shift in electric power in August 2021. Quite a few of these refugees were forced to flee the only houses they had ever recognised.

The IRC has been supporting Afghans like Sofia across the nation, welcoming them to U.S. federal government-run “Safe Havens” wherever they obtain short term accommodations, food and clinical treatment. When they leave the Secure Havens, the IRC will help numerous of them come across housing, employment, health and fitness treatment and other necessities.

Right here is Sofia’s tale.

How did you turn into fascinated in laptop science?

I was in 11th grade when one particular of my classmates instructed me about a course on Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Most of us did not have obtain to computers at that time, but we were decided to consider the training course.

Soon after graduating large faculty, I made the decision to continue my examine in this field because I had grown incredibly fond of it. I was intrigued in generating internet sites that other folks could find out from and use freely.

What was your university expertise like in Afghanistan?

For the first two many years, I was in a government faculty and afterward I analyzed in a private university for two decades. My male classmates in Afghanistan confronted me several periods,  declaring that pc science was a profession not meant for girls, and that I needed to decide for a occupation “designed” for women. I was bullied and discriminated from. They were being not ready to count me in their team. 

With all of that hardship, I did not generate. I did not shed my hope and I wished to go in advance. I later transferred to a private college, exactly where 50 % the college students had been woman.

I did not yield. I did not eliminate my hope and I required to go in advance.

There are a variety of obstructions from feminine training in Afghanistan, like absence of family and group assistance, educational facilities that are much away, and a deficiency of woman instructors. Individually, I did have my family’s assistance but I did not have the guidance of the normal society. 

A young woman stands in a doorway holding a laptop.

“I want to be a man or woman who can assist other individuals,” Sofia said. “I want to discover methods to enable people who you should not understand or don’t have access to engineering.”

Photograph: Andrew Oberstadt for the IRC

How did you evacuate from Afghanistan?

In August 2021, all of a sudden the predicament turned really chaotic. Every person panicked and was terrified for their life. 

In the final times when I was leaving, everything was dire and people today have been extremely anxious for the reason that they had been seeking to leave. I was also anxious that the condition could possibly get even even worse. No a single knew what was going to materialize to them.

When I arrived at the airport, I could not believe that so quite a few folks experienced already arrive. I assumed I might not be in a position to enter the airport, but soon after a ton of struggles I was in a position to get on a flight.

My brother and I had been ready to depart but our mother, who has arthritis, was not equipped to make it to the airport in time. She now life in Kabul all alone, with no one to assistance with her clinical wants. 

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

We came to the U.S. on September 6. My objective was to occur here and just have a lifetime. I think 80% of women who are in Kabul want the similar. They want liberty, flexibility of imagining, freedom of schooling. Their want is to attain what they are dreaming about.

The IRC has always, from my level of perspective, aided all people. When I first arrived listed here I was addressed pretty very well and all the issues I had had been answered.  For occasion, they introduced us to several companies that helped us with standard necessities. They also served us to relocate near to family users. I want the IRC even far more success in supporting Afghans. I really thank them for the reason that what they do is a big 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

As soon as I arrived below, I believed, ‘I bought all I required and now I can overcome any difficulties.’ It was a unusual emotion to know I can attain whatsoever I have planned for.

What are your occupation ambitions and dreams?

I want to be a person who can aid other individuals. I seriously like working in networking and IT. I want to come across ways to enable all those who will not fully grasp or never have access to technologies.

I also want to make a web-site like Google, Facebook and Instagram for the reason that these applications provide all people with each other. Laptop or computer science allows introduce individuals to the earth and demonstrate them what is taking place.

I want to make a site like Google, Facebook and Instagram since these apps bring everybody together.

I am pretty established to get to my goals. I want to create myself in the United States and hopefully sponsor my mother to come right here.

What are your hopes for Afghanistan?

It was normally my wish that peace be recognized in my place and girls like me could achieve all their needs and dreams. I you should not want my nation and its people today to go backwards.

There are 1000’s of ladies in Kabul like me who want to analyze, proceed their education, work in the discipline they pick, be energetic in society, and assistance their fellow Afghans.

My private desire is to assistance the people today of Afghanistan so they can have far better lives. If I one working day satisfy a lady who is in Kabul and she has a whole lot of desire in laptop science, I will convey to her to never shed hope and to not give up on her goals. There will be a working day when points will be ok and she will carry on her schooling.

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

“My personal desire is to support the folks of Afghanistan so they can have far better life,” Sofia told the IRC.

Image: Andrew Oberstadt for the IRC

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

My message to the persons of the U.S. is to aid the Afghans who have come here, since they were in genuinely lousy shape when they remaining their place. Every thing is new for them due to the fact they have arrive to a really diverse spot. And I thank Us citizens for serving to us so significantly. 

*Pseudonym employed for protection

How you can assist Afghan refugees 

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

Donate by signing up for a monthly gift that will be made use of exactly where it is desired most. 

Discover how you can assistance a community IRC business office near you. 

Volunteer in a local office or remotely. Opportunities contain preparing new houses for refugee families, mentoring another person as they restart their vocation and tutoring college students. 

Sponsor an Afghan loved ones. Set up companies, these kinds of as companies, university communities, religion teams, sporting activities teams or regional golf equipment can come to be Afghan Placement and Aid (APA) Local community Companions to help households get on their toes. 

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

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