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'In pursuit of a better life': Afghan refugee family adapts to life in San Diego

Posted at 6:33 PM, May 21, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Many refugee families continue to face challenges as they settle into their new lives. ABC 10News sat down with one family from Afghanistan who has been in the city for only 10 days.

“San Diego so far…we found it really good, especially the weather,” said Aimal.

Aimal and his family are here through the special immigrant visa program, which is offered to Afghans who worked directly with the U.S. government.

Aimal, a legal advisor, and his wife, a former judge, had been attempting to leave Afghanistan since 2021 due to safety concerns.

“The thing is that everybody knows the current situation in Afghanistan, especially for women. Honestly, we are in pursuit of a better life for my family,” he said.

While Aimal said they are hopeful for the future, they are also anxious about finding work and settling into their new life.

“Some nights I cannot sleep. What will happen? Will I be able to pay all the bills? The rent and everything to accommodate my family, or not?” he said.

Upon their arrival, one of the first San Diegans Aimal and his family met was Barbara Cummings, a volunteer who has assisted countless refugee families.

“Every family needs a pressure cooker, needs a vacuum cleaner, would love a TV although that’s low on the priority list,” said Barbara, who has helped provide basic necessities for those families.

Barbara said many refugees from Afghanistan that she has helped are highly skilled and educated: doctors, architects, lawyers. However, they struggle to find jobs in San Diego.

“A lot of them are out there doing Uber Eats, doing Amazon Flex ... It can stay off starvation, it can pay the rent, but it’s not a career,” she said.

If you would like to get in contact with Barbara to help her provide basic necessities to families like Aimal’s, you can email her at sdwalker557@gmail.com.