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Ramesh Hashemy

New Arrival Award

Community leader, advocate and Afghan refugee

I am from Afghanistan, where I worked with the United States government as a subject matter expert, translator and interpreter in the security sector. I also used to teach English to militaries in projects funded by the U.S. government. I taught in academic centers and worked as a junior attorney. When the Taliban took over Kabul, I had to leave Afghanistan due to my work background with the U.S. government and political views against extremism and the Taliban. 

I was evacuated from Kabul to Germany, where I stayed at the U.S. military camp for eight days. After that, we flew to Washington, D.C., and stayed in a camp for a couple of days in Virginia. Then I came to Indiana and stayed f at Camp Atterbury for four and a half months. In January 2022, I came to Minnesota. I had to struggle with the difficulties and challenges of the evacuation process.

When I came to Minnesota, it was hard for me. It was the peak of winter, and I didn’t have a vehicle or a driver’s license. After reviewing my resume, I got accepted by most of the companies where I applied for jobs, but due to not having a vehicle I could not work with them. In February, I joined the SEWA-AIFW (Asian Indian Family Wellness) non-profit organization, where I still work as a communication and marketing manager. Since I joined SEWA-AIFW, I have helped the community with resettlement, interpretation, translation, job opportunities, providing opportunities for getting a driver’s license, health issues, insurance, financial literacy workshops, food, clothes, social issues awareness, domestic violence prevention, trauma, immigrants, immigration services and much more.

SEWA-AIFW is a non-governmental, non-profit 501c3 organization committed to bringing total family wellness to the South Asian Indian community, including India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Bhutan. To build a violence-free society, we must engage all community members to take responsibility for condemning domestic violence.

We provide women with information about their options and rights. SEWA-AIFW advocates and staff never tell women what to do; we give women information about possible courses of action and help them become empowered to make their own decisions. SEWA-AIFW volunteers are available 24 hours a day to answer calls on our crisis hotline. The organization offers confidential services, which include free or low-cost legal support, women’s emotional support groups, access to battered women’s shelters and medical care.

SEWA-AIFW originated from a desire to meet the unrecognized and unmet needs of the Asian-Indian diaspora and South Asian Immigrant and refugee community in Minnesota. Sewa means “to serve” in Hindi, and the organization was created to serve and promote total family wellness for South Asians in Minnesota through culturally specific programs.

Ramesh Hashemy
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