“They’re essential”: Austin-based nonprofit distributes 60 computers to refugees

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Ramin Mohmand arrived in Austin from Afghanistan nearly six years ago. He said he was happy to end up in central Texas, but integrating into his new home came with some challenges.

“There are difficulties when you come [for the] first time from another country as a refugee,” Mohmand said. “You have no banking history, you have no employment history, you have no housing record.”

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“It’s very difficult to find accommodation, it’s really difficult to find a job yourself because you don’t know how this job application is going to work,” he said. “It’s very difficult.”

The Global Impact Initiative, an Austin-based nonprofit founded in 2020, seeks to make it easier for refugees to adjust to life in the United States. On Friday, the initiative distributed 60 computers to refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine and Venezuela.

“[Computers] they are no longer a luxury; they are a necessity,” said Anjum Malik, executive director of the Global Impact Initiative. “Whether it’s for tutoring children, whether husbands get jobs, whether wives learn [English] – lots of reasons,” he said.

Malik said his organization relies on donations to help refugees, who are mostly from Afghanistan, integrate into life in Austin. Dell Technologies donated the 60 computers the nonprofit dispersed on Friday.

Malik said his organization was able to help more than 400 refugees find work in Austin last year. They currently serve nearly 250 families and continue to add more every week.

“Every refugee you meet will tell you that if it weren’t for the volunteers, there was no way they could have done it,” Malik said. “For a job like this, you need empathy. You need kindness. For the kindness of their hearts they are the ones who support refugees the most.”

Mohmand said the Global Impact Initiative was a boon in his assimilation into US life. He has a wife, three children under ten and aspires to work in IT.

“Everyone has a goal when they move. Most of all I call this life the life of opportunity,” she said. “So, let’s see what happens in the future.”

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