Afghan refugees and Tallahassee family sponsors build lifelong friendship and encourage community support for refugees

Afghan Refugees and Tallahassee Sponsors builds lifelong friendship
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 7:51 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Since October, the International Rescue Committee has joined the community to help more than 150 people who left everything behind in Afghanistan.

Nazir Niazi, an interpreter for the U.S. Government in Afghanistan, was on one of the last planes out of Kabul.

On August 9, 2021, Nazir married his wife on a normal day in Kabul.

Five days later, the Niazi family was desperately trying to evacuate as the government collapsed and the Taliban took control of Kabul.

As thousands rushed to the Kabul airport, only Nasir, his wife Nabila and his brother Bashir made it inside the Kabul Airport.

“We spent four days inside the airport on the sand and on garbage. It was a very bad situation,” Nazir said.

On August 22, they evacuated and left his dad, mom, sister and other brothers behind.

Nazir, Nabila and Bashir traveled for six months from Afghanistan to Qatar, then Germany to a U.S. Military Base in New Mexico, before arriving in Tallahassee in January.

“We started a new life here. It has many difficulties, but fortunately, we have good people here that are helping us have a good start,” Nazir said.

In February, at an International Rescue Committee event, they met the McKibbens, who offered to share meals, drive them to appointments and even take them to explore local hot spots.

“I’ve been inspired by their spirit, attitude, and graciousness”, Candace McKibben, a local pastor and the Niazi family sponsor said.

“They are our family. We don’t have anyone else here. It started as a friendship and now they are our family”, Nazir said.

Meanwhile, Nazir is praying for his Afghanistan family he left behind.

“They are doing okay, but there is no work, no income, no food for people. Everybody should live in a peaceful country with freedom. That’s all we want. So we want the United Nations to still look out for Afghanistan because they need help”, Nazir said.

Now the McKibbens are working to rally more community support for refugees resettling here.

“So many people that are coming into our country are very talented and have great skills, experience, and training. I’m hoping that our community can utilize these valuable people”, Candace said.

Nasir is working at a Tallahassee Walmart now, but he hopes to gain employment soon utilizing his business degree.

Nasir and his wife Nabila are also preparing to welcome their first child this year. The McKibbens have already excitedly taken them shopping for baby clothes and items.

The International Rescue Committee says some refugees in Tallahassee have similar experiences while others are really struggling right now.

The IRC says more refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria and other countries are expected to arrive here soon, so there will be more need for affordable housing, employment, family sponsors, volunteers, donation drives and other services.

If you would like to help, visit the IRC’s website or the Tallahassee Refuge Connection’s website.

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