Abdul Fights for His Family

Abdul receiving his Literacy Network Award

Abdul receiving his Literacy Network Award

Abdul was nominated by LQ's program coordinator, Rose Jurado

Abdul was nominated by LQ’s program coordinator, Rose Jurado

Growing up in Afghanistan, Abdul Darwe remembers the struggles his family had to face on a daily basis.   In addition to the raging war and unrest happening in the country, his family also struggled financially.  His father would wake up early every morning to sell fruits and vegetables on the street to earn money for his family.  Even though life was hard, Abdul still enjoyed a childhood of days spent playing soccer with his friends.

Unfortunately, when he was eleven years old, Abdul was hit by a truck that crushed his leg under the weight of the tire.  He was immediately taken to the hospital where he underwent four surgeries to save his leg, but eventually, the doctor said they would need to amputate it. His father didn’t want the surgery for him and took him home instead. Abdul remembers “crying every night in pain,” but he continued to build his strength.

As time went on, Abdul and his family lived in constant fear and became desperate to leave Afghanistan. In 2010, tragedy struck the Darwe family. Abdul’s father became ill and passed away, leaving 17-year-old Abdul to take care of his mother and two sisters. They fled to Pakistan for safety, but civil unrest continued to haunt them. Refusing to give up, Abdul took any job he could to save money. After many interviews and fighting through long work hours, Abdul and his family were granted visas into the United States. Abdul was filled with such raw emotion, that he began crying as he was telling us how relieved and happy he was at the chance of a peaceful life.

Abdul’s goal had always been to survive and make sure that his family was safe.  Now, he and his family no longer had to live in fear.  Since being in the United States, Abdul has been able to develop a new goal, he said, “I decided to focus on my education because when I was in Afghanistan I did not have the chance to go to school… [by learning how to read and write] I can be more independent and help and support my family.”  With this new dream, Abdul began his journey for literacy at MJC’s English learner program, but knew he needed more help.  He decided to also begin one-on-one tutoring with LearningQuest’s Adult Literacy program in the Stanislaus County Library.

Every day, Abdul gets stronger and stronger with his English skills.  He even won the Literacy Network Award for “Literacy Achievement.”  Abdul said, “I want to learn English fluently and then get my GED, and after that, study to become a nurse.”  He recently got a job at an ice cream company where his accomplishments have inspired his sisters to enroll in LearningQuest’s GED program.  Although he limps due to his childhood injury, Abdul doesn’t let anything stop him as he continues to smile and help his family any way he can.