Our Impact

MEIRS Success Story: Zara

Zara* is a member of the Hazara ethnic group in Afghanistan. The Hazara are a persecuted group, and they are currently under genocidal attack by the Taliban. Zara was at the airport in Kabul with her husband and four children when a bomb exploded. She and her husband were separated, each with two of their children. Zara and her 2-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son (pictured on left) made it through the barriers, but her daughter was injured by shrapnel and required serious medical attention. The three of them made it onto a flight, and the 2-year-old was able to get the medical care she needed. It was a long time before Zara knew the fate of her husband and other two children. They survived the bombing without injury but had to go into hiding from the Taliban.

Zara and her children were resettled by Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services (MEIRS) to the Lewiston, Maine area. One of MEIRS’ top priorities with its clients is to help them file for asylum, a service we provide through our Immigration & Naturalization Program. Zara’s application for asylum was filed promptly after arrival, and she was approved for asylum last month. This was a major hurdle to overcome towards the reunification of her family. 

Said Zara, “I am very grateful to the government of the United States and especially to MEIRS and [executive director] Rilwan Osman for his help and hard work to get my asylum approval. I am so happy to have asylum, and relieved that I was able to get my approval without being charged money.”

We at MEIRS anxiously await news on Zara’s application for derivative asylum for her husband and two other children. We hope they will be reunited as soon as possible.

*Not her real name, as she fears for the safety of her family in Afghanistan.


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Lewiston, ME 04240

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