BYU Hosts Hazara Career Day and Provides Educational Opportunities for Youth
By Hassan El Sheikh
The story of the American immigrant is one that many have heard before. Throughout history, individuals have left their homelands to escape oppression, religious persecution and more to start a new life.
Now the Hazara community of Afghanistan is part of that story.
Coming to a country where no one speaks their native language or understands their culture can be difficult for refugees, but Utah Hazara and BYU are helping to make this transition a little easier.
Members of the Hazara community gathered at the Gordon B. Hinckley Visitor Center alongside students and faculty to learn how to navigate the American education system on November 4.
Education is one of the many elements of Afghan life that was taken away from their community after the Taliban took over in August 2021.
“Fifty-eight other girls had big dreams for their lives, but the Taliban turned them to ashes,” said Ghazanfar Ali, social media director for the Utah Hazara Association.
Young Hazara have career dreams and goals, some since they were children.
“Ever since I was little, people asked me, ‘How do you want to be when you grow up?’ said young Hazara Mehdia Muhammdi. “I would be, like, a doctor.”
But arriving in the United States did not mean that their journey was over. Many young Hazara encountered difficulties when they arrived.
“The first state I came here to was California and the language was the hardest part,” said young Hazara Mehdi Muhammadi.. “I didn’t know anything.”
The Utah Hazara Association helps refugees by providing translation assistance, housing and food stamps.
The event ended with traditional Afghan dishes like hummus and beef kebab, along with popular Hazara music.
While the Hazara community in the United States still has a long way to go, their experience of learning to endure hard things is what has made them such a remarkable people.