Job Seeker: Khushal
Navigating a New Life in Minnesota
Khushal was working in Kandahar alongside U.S. service members the day Kabul fell to Taliban control and the Afghan government dissolved. Fear of retaliation gripped every Afghan who had been trying to establish a modern democracy. Within two weeks, 120,000 Afghans were scattered around the world in one of the largest humanitarian evacuations in history; 80,000 evacuees came to this country through Operation Allies Welcome. Khushal, whose name has been changed here to maintain conﬁdentiality, would get a new life in America. His wife, parents, and brother would not.
In Minnesota, refugee and resettlement agencies became instantly ﬂooded by the inﬂux and Khushal’s case got stalled. Stress and uncertainty became a way of life. “The language barrier was very difﬁcult to handle and to be able to navigate life,” says Khushal.
Khushal found the extra support he needed with Daily Work. “Early on, we discovered that Khushal had not been assigned to an immigration agency,” recalled Case Worker Vince DiGiorno. “That could have been a huge problem for him, resulting in loss of beneﬁts or even work authorization.” DW connected him to the Advocates for Human Rights so Khushal could start the process of getting his Green Card.
Once Khushal found a job, Daily Work assisted him with a MicroGrant which paid for driving lessons. “It is very difﬁcult to get around in this country without a driver’s license and a car,” observes Khushal.
Studying the driver’s manual and passing the permit test, and then succeeding at the behind-the-wheel test, especially without a personal vehicle and basic English proﬁciency, was an immense challenge requiring support from numerous individuals.
At each stage Khushal credits DW with assisting him whether it was accompanying him to immigration appointments, setting up driver’s tests, or supplying a car and driver for the road exam – to name just a few areas regularly tackled during his bimonthly meetings .
One year later Khushal had a driver’s license, job, and car. “I’m working on the ﬁrst steps now. I need to learn the language better and then maybe take some courses. I want to have my own business, either a store or a restaurant.” He is also focused on bringing his wife here and, hopefully, his family.
It is difﬁcult to come to a new country, But I am happy because I’m in the U.S. and I have some peace now.