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Efforts to resettle refugees from Afghanistan in Northern Nevada continue

A woman in a sweater smiles as she pushes a dolly with food in front of a large box truck. Block letters on the truck read “Northern Nevada International Center: Leader Nevada’s global engagement. Donations accepted. Call 775-783-7515.”
Ellie Mundt
KUNR Youth Media
Amanda Mundt stands in front of a box truck for the Northern Nevada International Center on April 20, 2022.

It’s been one year since the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan. The Northern Nevada International Center is continuing to help refugees in their journey to an independent life locally.

Amanda Mundt is a volunteer coordinator for the center’s refugee resettlement agency and collects food for the program from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada’s Mobile Harvest. The Northern Nevada International Center does a lot more than provide food for refugees; they make sure they have housing, English classes, transportation, and employment, among other things.

Former employment specialist Masoud Stanikzai is a refugee from Afghanistan. He was able to serve other refugees by helping them find work in the U.S.

“I can help my countrymen very well because most of them do not know the language,” Stanikzai said. “Now that I work with the agency, it’s my duty to provide, not just for Afghan clients, but for all refugees. They need help. They flee their countries to start a new life."

Stanikzai’s unique background allowed him to connect with his clients. Along with its staff, the resettlement program relies on community support and volunteers. Volunteer Amy Grinstein helps refugee families learn how to navigate their new life. She takes them to medical appointments, helps them sort through mail and shows them how to shop at supermarkets.

“They want to invite you in for tea to express how grateful they are that you're helping them, and it’s really a special thing,” Grinstein said. “An experience in my life that I won’t forget is being able to experience that Afghan hospitality, and how they use it to show gratitude.”

The agency continues to work with dedicated volunteers like Grinstein as they play a part in Nevada’s increasingly diverse population.

KUNR Youth Media reporter Ellie Mundt is a recent graduate of the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology. KUNR Youth Media is a special partnership with the Washoe County School District and Report for America to train the next generation of journalists.

Updated: August 30, 2022 at 3:36 PM PDT
This story was produced during the spring semester of KUNR Youth Media. Since that time, Masoud Stanikzai has transitioned from his role as an employment specialist for the NNIC. The digital version of this story has been updated to reflect this change.

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