Local refugee woman speaks about helping Afghan women
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A local Afghan woman and a professor at the University of Virginia are coming together to make sure that Charlottesville is a safer place for refugees to reside in.
Bonnie Gordon, who is an associate professor at UVA, and Lima Mohammad Asif, a UVA graduate and refugee herself, want to help with the struggles that refugee women experience in their transition to America.
They came up with just how they were able to help with those issues.
Asif created a film, which documented the culture and history of refugee women in the United States, as part of her capstone project.
The documentary consisted of filming the history of the Taliban and interviewing women from three periods of time.
“I decided to do a documentary filming the history of the Taliban and interviewing women from three different periods of time,” said Asif.
This film was done in a way where it would be part of helping other Afghan women who have come to Charlottesville start a new chapter in life.
Other students and faculty came together to help Asif create a safe space for Afghan women to transition into America safely.
“A huge number of Afghan refugees came in the last five years,” said Gordon, speaking about the importance of standing by these women and their families. “Many women and many children came and they are in our community they need a space to be as resilient as they are.”
A space is now available for these women and children in the marching band room at UVA. There are activities that they can take part in such as yoga and bonding.
This is a safe space to help Afghan women to feel safe, which is something Asif understands all too well.
“I came to the United States like you know, it was a really easy transition but I was still really really emotionally hurt," she said. "I was really upset for a year. It took me years to get used to this culture.”
With a documentary and a welcoming space, Asif hopes others will better understand afghan women and their struggles.
Gordon says it’s a step in helping newly-formed Charlottesville families.