ClassACT is dedicated to “achieving change together.” While our efforts often focus on national and global changes, the connections made through ClassACT create ripple effects that result in positive change for individual lives. We are delighted to share another such example. Our classmate Jeremy Bluhm lives in Sydney, Australia and has attended some of ClassACT HR73’s virtual events. When the tailor on Jeremy’s street, Reza Nikan, asked for help, Jeremy thought of ClassACT. Reza, who is “a wonderful Hazara man who has lived in Australia for about 15 years,” asked for help for his aunt, Hanifa (52), and cousin, Sabera (24). In October, Hanifa and Sabera were able to escape from Afghanistan to Islamabad, Pakistan, with a goal of resettlement in the US, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. Reza reported that they landed in a foreign country as unaccompanied women and felt very vulnerable and afraid.
Upon Jeremy’s request for assistance, we reached out to two of our former Benazir Bhutto Leadership Program fellows, Natasha Jehangir Khan and Nadia Rehman, and one BBLP Associate (and Natasha’s husband), Muhammad Ali, who all live in Islamabad. The three immediately responded and have begun connecting with the women. Natasha and Ali are contacting the Afghan Representative in Islamabad to find out how the women can be helped. In addition, Natasha is helping Sabera, a fledgling dressmaker, connect with vocational training to improve her skills. Nadia is in the process of reaching out to Hanifa and Sabera to offer her assistance as well. Jeremy has been told to reassure Reza that they are living in a “fairly safe” neighborhood and that there are other Afghans living in the area. We are following these ongoing efforts and will provide updates in future communications.