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Rebuilding lives: 32 Afghan refugees now call South Bend home


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A life rebuilt. A young, man, his wife and child from Afghanistan are now in South Bend after fleeing the Taliban.

They're a part of the 32 refugees taken in by local organizations.

In spite of everything, the man you spoke with says he's landed on his feet.

Namatullah, his wife, and 16-month-old son lived in Kabul when the Taliban took over.

His family didn't have a choice where they'd end up but they're making the most of it.

Afghan refugee, Namatullah Zada, boarded the plane at Kabul's international airport with his family and hasn't looked back.

"I saw a lot of problem[s] and passed 1,000 peoples and come to airports with wife and kids that I passed... [I] this happy for this and come to here."

His family would be temporarily housed wherever there was space which ended up being an army base in Texas.

After a few months, they were resettled as part of the 32 refugees the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County took in.

"Every country has different culture, different words, different people in different language," Zada said. "But this country is for me and now we very tried [trying] for learning English."

The U.R.C. partnered with other faith-based organizations like Catholic Charities and La Casa de Amistad to arrange permanent housing, health care, and jobs.

They're also providing schooling and English language lessons.

"It's hard to adjust to a new language, new culture. Everybody's going to school [and] depending on the family's background and all the kids may have had a lot of experience with that or not so much experience with that."

Zada and his wife have a 16-month-old, who she looks after while he's at work.

Zada is currently employed at a steel factory and even has his driver's license.

The job is good for now, but he's already imagined his family's future in the U.S.

"After the English language, inshallah go to the school and go to university."

Inshallah is the Arabic word meaning "if God will."

Zada says it when he speaks of his new life in Indiana.

"We certainly hope folks will stay; we now have a small Afghan American community here in the area," Pinter said. "We want this to be a good place for folks to come and learn and thrive and we believe it can be all of those things."

Pinter says there is a possibility the United Religious Community could help resettle Ukrainian refugees.

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Currently, there haven't been placement requests, but he says that could change at any moment.

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