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Hanifullah Rasooli

New Arrival Award

Father, translator and former refugee

My name is Hanifullah Rasooli. I am from Afghanistan where I was a military officer for about 17 years. I was working for Eagle Base in my home city of Kabul, Afghanistan. We left on Sept. 28, 2021, and arrived in the United States on Oct. 10. First, we landed in Germany, and then we flew to the United States. We switched planes at the Philadelphia airport before landing at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, with my whole family. I have five children and a beautiful wife.

When arriving at Fort McCoy, it was a little hard. At the hotel, it was better, but it was best when we finally arrived at our own home in St. Paul. Upon arrival, it was one of the best feelings ever. Having my family with me through this journey of starting a new life has been a blessing. We were the fortunate ones to survive and seek somewhere safe.

There were so many challenges as a refugee when arriving in the U.S. All our travels from Kabul were difficult. We had to leave other members of our family in Afghanistan. First, there was the language problem. I took a language course for three months and then I started my job. I work in molding manufacturing, but the job was far away, and I had to take an Uber to work.

Another challenge has been obtaining my driver’s license. Our work is too far away and Afghans don’t have their driver's licenses or a car to drive. Translating has been a great joy. Just helping other people and having the opportunity to do so is amazing. That’s what gives me energy and motivation!

My biggest accomplishment is arriving in a new country safe with my family. It’s been a crazy journey but I’m grateful. It was a good thing to get our own housing and jobs to provide for our family. America has been so special to us. Since I was working with the United States military when the Afghan government was finished, they brought me to the U.S. Do work, hard work, and you can stand on your own two feet.

Hanifullah Rasooli photo
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