November 18, 2022

Above: Mirwais Bezhan reporting in Afghanistan. Credit: VOA News, June 2020.

As an accomplished Afghan journalist with over twelve years of experience, Mirwais Bezhan reported on the war in Afghanistan and its effects on the lives of his countrymen. He was passionate about his work and helping others through it. “Every day was new,” he says. “There was always something happening.”

Mirwais was targeted by the Taliban because of his ties to the United States and attempts were made on his life. Like many of the clients IILA served in past year, Mirwais and his wife Bibi Maliha fled Afghanistan last August after the fall of Kabul, leaving the rest of their family behind. They were first sent to a military base in New Jersey, where they took classes on U.S. culture and law. Still, it was very difficult for them to begin to adjust to a completely new culture. When they arrived in Los Angeles, he admits that he felt very sad at times. There was so much that was new, and he had no way to continue his career as a journalist. They had to start life all over again.

With the help of his IILA case manager in our Matching Grant program, however, he was able to secure a job in a shoe factory. He reports how, “Adriana helped me many times when I had questions. She is very nice and very kind. I appreciate her and her team. I am very grateful to the agency.  They helped me find a job and pay rent.”

Although it has been difficult to start over, Mirwais is hopeful about their future. He wants to eventually be able to work as a journalist here, and his wife is studying English so that she can work as well. In the meantime, Mirwais is doing what he can to share what it’s like to be a refugee in the United States and raise awareness about others affected by war.  He hopes that the global community can come together to better meet the needs of Afghans and all others whose lives are being upended by war.