News & Views

Giving Tuesday 2021: Hadi’s Story

“America accepts refugees because America is a refugee country.”
-Hadi, Afghan refugee and HIAS PA client

Hadi didn’t know the Taliban would take control over Afghanistan and his family would have to leave so quickly. Luckily, HIAS Pennsylvania was there to welcome him and his family from the moment they arrived in Philadelphia. Your gift to HIAS Pennsylvania will ensure a warm welcome for all refugees fleeing to America for safety.

“People need to have relationships and be part of a community. We are unique, and a singular family now. This is going to be a good village for us.”

When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Hadi and his family fled, leaving their entire lives – their jobs, home, community, and family – behind.

For Afghans, family and community are interchangeable. While there is a thriving Afghan community in Northeast Philadelphia, HIAS PA could only find a suitable home for Hadi’s family in South Philadelphia. His family became pioneers who quickly welcomed two new Afghan families into their apartment building. “It’s easy for me to live here because I speak English. For others in my family, it’s hard.” The families in this self-dubbed “Afghan mini-village” shop for groceries together, share meals and continue to help each other with whatever they need.

Hadi’s new South Philadelphia community welcomed him with open arms as well. Groceries showed up on his doorstep, and neighbors provided his family with bicycles and came over to share an Afghan lunch. HIAS Pennsylvania’s staff checked in regularly to make sure the family had everything they needed and helped Hadi prepare for a job interview. Please make a gift today to help refugees and immigrants find a safe home, a job, and a new community.

“Living without mental borders”

Hadi told us he wanted to move to Philadelphia for its convenience to other cities and lower cost of living. He quickly added: “Also, it was America’s first capital! So that’s good news!” His love of American history gives him hope. He believes once immigrants set foot on American soil, they are American. “You need to think we’re one of you now. Maybe our names are different, but we are now in America, so what we will do from now on, we will do for America.”

According to Hadi, “The good thing about Americans is that they’re open to all cultures and to people around the world. You don’t need to go across the world to learn about other people – just knock on your neighbor’s door. The beautiful thing I understand is when you live without mental borders – we’re all the same. People around the world are the unique parts of one another. America has the best culture in the world because all of the cultures are here!”

Please make a gift today to provide refugee and immigrant families like Hadi’s with affordable housing, social and legal services that will allow them to live without fear, build a new community, become good neighbors, and enrich our lives!