Afghan refugee gives advice to new arrivals coming to Wisconsin
Abdulla Ameen moved to Madison in 2014 after he left his hometown of Kabul, Afghanistan. He decided to leave his country after working for the U.S. State Department for several years after he noticed it became more dangerous because of Taliban attacks in 2008-2010.
"It had totally changed, so it was not a good place for us," Ameen said.
After qualifying for a special immigrant visa (SIV), Ameen was connected with social services agencies that helped assist him and his family with the resettlement process.
It was difficult to adjust, said Ameen, being away from family and friends.
"It was a challenging time for us, everything was new," he said.
As hundreds, possibly thousands Afghan refugees plan to arrive at Fort McCoy, Ameen is sending a message of hope to refugees.
"They might be shocked for a few months, but after that, things will be good, just keep patient."
Now feeling lucky to have left the turmoil in Afghanistan, Ameen now fears for his relatives that remain there.
"I communicate with them regularly, but they are all shocked, saddened and terrified…there's nothing I can do for them."
Ameen often still communicates with Lutheran Social Services and Jewish Social Services, two resettlement agencies that helped him get on his feet.
His advice to new arrivals, "After a year, you are part of this community, you have to contribute, work with the community, find a connection."