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Refugee for Refugee

by Ali Ansari

photo shows a smiling man in a jersey taking a selfie with a group of grinning childrenMy name is Ali Ansari. I was born in Afghanistan. I lived there until 2007, when our lives became very difficult and we had to move to Iran. My life was not easy as an Afghan living in Iran, so I had to move to Turkey two years later. Can you imagine being fifteen and coming as a refugee to a country where you don’t know their language, culture, or where to live? Because of all the challenges and difficulties in my journey, this has become my mission to work with refugees in Richmond, Virginia and also overseas. I have been working with some non-profit organizations and churches in Greece and Albania to help people begin life in a new country. I translate for them, help with the driving test and encourage them to integrate into their new homeland.

photograph shows adults and youth standing on a soccer fieldI’m doing this work because I hope my experiences inspire them. Living in a new country is not easy, but it can also give you opportunities to find peace and rest. I am happy to live in Richmond, Virginia today and also want to thank those who are helping me understand the culture of this city and country, like Karen, my English teacher.

Sincerely, Ali Ansari


photograph shows many colorful works of children's art pinned to a bulletin board