Update from the Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group

Here’s an update on our “adopted” Afghan family, two brothers who were separated from their parents and siblings and evacuated by U.S. forces from Kabul in August 2021. The brothers were resettled in Elizabeth in October 2021 and our group has been providing them with assistance since December 2021, in conjunction with Refugee Assistance Partners (RAP) of NJ.

Despite the huge disruption to their lives posed by the Taliban takeover, Sediq (age 24) and Masih (age 15) are assimilating well to life in the U.S.  They have applied for asylum and are waiting to hear the results of their applications.

Sediq is currently working in an upscale clothing store in the Short Hills Mall, in a management training program that is giving him exposure to all aspects of the retail clothing business.  Masih is in 9th grade in the high school in Elizabeth that specializes in the arts.  He is getting good grades in all his subjects, although Sediq complains that Masih is “only” getting grades of 80-85 in math and science.  Masih is an excellent athlete and an especially avid soccer player.  Now that he has completed some dental work, Masih once again regularly flashes his charming smile.  Shirley Grill arranged for the work to be done at a significant discount, and the financing was provided by our group.

The brothers now face two problems, for which they need our help.  First, they need a car.  Sediq commutes to his job via three buses, and it often takes two hours each way.  He frequently needs to take Uber when the buses don’t arrive on time or when he must leave the mall after work at 11 pm.  A one-way trip from the mall to his home typically costs about $25;  Sediq earns $19 an hour at the store.  In addition, without a car, Sediq has no convenient way to get to the company’s other stores and warehouses, which will be an increasing part of his job as he progresses through the management training program.

Consequently, we are seeking a used – but reliable – car for Sediq.  If you have a car to donate, or know someone who does, please contact Andy (email hidden; JavaScript is required).

The second issue is that the physical condition of their apartment and their entire building recently has deteriorated markedly, as a result of the landlord’s neglect.  Sediq and Masih would like to move, either to another one-bedroom apartment in Elizabeth, or to a town closer to Sediq’s job.  However, even in Elizabeth, it is unlikely that they will be able to find a decent apartment in a good neighborhood for a rent as low as their current $1,020 per month.

Sediq and Masih would also consider an alternative housing situation: if someone has room in their house to provide a home for the brothers, Sediq and Masih could provide occasional assistance with household chores (and wonderful company) in exchange for a reduced rent.  This might be particularly attractive to an elderly homeowner or to people with an “empty nest.”  It would be a mitzvah for the provider and could be a win-win for everyone involved.  If you or anyone you know might be able to provide an arrangement like this, please contact Judy Wildman, (email hidden; JavaScript is required).

Our group is already providing a partial subsidy for Sediq and Masih’s rent and food; the need for that subsidy continues and is likely to grow if their rent increases or if they need to maintain a car (and pay for insurance).  Therefore, we need to raise additional funds Our group has been incredibly generous in the past and we are hoping that generosity can continue.

If you are able to make a contribution, please send a check to Refugee Assistance Partners NJ (with “Fund for Ebrahimi Brothers” designated in the memo line) at:

Refugee Assistance Partners NJ
P.O. Box 736
Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

Alternatively, you can donate by credit card online by going to: https://www.refugeeassistancepartnersnj.org/, clicking on the “Donate” link at the top of the page and then choosing “Ebrahimi Family Fund” from the drop-down menu on the subsequent page.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support.

Judith, Mike, and Andy

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