Mother’s Commitment to Education Inspires Afghan Refugee’s New Life in Madison

August marked the second anniversary of the United States’ departure from Afghanistan, and Ahmad Sahil is one of many Afghan refugees who have started a new life in the Wisconsin in the past two years. This fall, Ahmad begins the next step toward the dream career his mother helped inspire as he starts classes in Madison College’s Certified Public Accountancy Program. Ahmad, who arrived in the U.S. from Afghanistan in January of 2023, plans to eventually earn his master’s in public administration and accounting. “Although my mother was not well educated, she had completely realized the importance of education for children of a country like Afghanistan,” says Ahmad. “I was taught that education is the only tool one could change his life and the lives of people around him.”

The seventh child in a family “in the grip of poverty,” Ahmad excelled academically, encouraged by his mother’s and siblings’ commitment. “Unlike other children our mother did not let us work during our teenage years,” he shares. “Instead my mother was producing handcrafts and embroidery to support the family economically.” Ahmad completed his Bachelor’s of Business Administration at Afghanistan’s SALAM University, and worked for organizations including Afghanistan’s High Peace Council.

Ahmad made the difficult decision to leave Afghanistan, including family, and arrived in Wisconsin with the help of national and international organizations at the beginning of 2023. Ahmad has worked with several local social service agencies as he settles into life in Wisconsin, including Literacy Network. In February, he enrolled in Literacy Network’s Transitions: English for College and Career Program. There, he participated in writing workshops and worked on setting goals and creating a resume.

With these new skills, the support of a Literacy Network scholarship funded by Altrusa International of Madison, Inc., and the dedication his family fostered, Ahmad enrolled at Madison College, starting classes this September. He hopes to help the community as a whole, to “enable the government and non-profit organizations to make their sound economic and financial decisions. Ultimately I want to contribute with the entities operating in financial sector domain with a passion and clear vision.”

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