by: Jan, an Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holder resettled in the U.S.
“Everything in my life changed when I started working with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and US forces in Afghanistan as an interpreter and cultural advisor. People like me working in this capacity made a huge difference by connecting local communities and international partners, helping them achieve the mutually beneficial goals of development, progress and well being.
It will be hard for some to believe that helping the community thrive would make one a thorn in the eyes of some portion of society. I am one of many who wanted to help our people by connecting international partners with the local community. I assisted our international partners build basic infrastructure like schools, roads, bridges, hospitals, and provide humanitarian assistance. But working with these partners and doing humanitarian work put me on the hit list of those who oppose any progress for Afghan society.
While serving the job was dangerous, but it turned into a nightmare once the work was over. Interpreters like me were sitting ducks for those who were opposed to the progress and development we were working towards. They started to hunt us down on the pretext of our work in the community. Many were killed, but I am one of the lucky ones who got away and made it to the US.
The process to get a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) is long and complex. It took me almost six years to get an SIV and make it to the US safe and sound, and yet so many are still waiting for their well-earned and well-deserved visas.
Getting an SIV is only the first step for many like me who have the opportunity to settle in the US. Getting the plane ticket(s) is another major problem that we face. The tickets are expensive and there is no way many of us can afford them. We’re forced to wait for months to receive a financial loan from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in order to buy the air tickets and make it to our new homes.
Thankfully, nonprofit organizations like Miles4Migrants (M4M) provide a helping hand at this critical moment. Arranging financial means is difficult and the waiting time is long and very dangerous. M4M provides air tickets for free so that people like me can be away from lethal harm as soon as possible. M4M saves precious time by providing free tickets to those who cannot afford it, saving time can be of paramount importance for those who are in danger.
I am one of many for whom M4M provided air tickets, from my point of departure to final destination. I am now away from danger and safe because M4M arranged the critical help when I needed it most. I urge everyone to please support M4M so that they may continue the tremendous work that has saved the lives of many like me.