Seattle’s small community of Afghan refugees is still feeling emotional aftershocks following Monday’s earthquake.
The epicenter of the magnitude 7.5 quake was in northern Afghanistan.
Airokhsh Faiz Qaisary grew up in Afghanistan near where the quake happened. She didn’t have a great childhood there. She spent much of it shut inside.
Faiz Qaisary: "I lived under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. I missed school for three years. My sisters and I – we had to stay home."
Faiz Qaisary came to the U.S. on a student visa about four years ago. Three months ago, she settled in the Seattle area. But she’s haunted by thoughts about the people she left behind in Afghanistan, the people emerging from the rubble of Monday’s earthquake.
Faiz Qaisary: “It’s very very hard to be away from home and know your families and friends are in risk, and in danger of losing their lives. The more I think about it, the harder it is. You know, sometimes I see them in my dreams because I think too much about it."
Faiz Qaisary has felt that way so many times about her homeland.
So what do you do with that feeling?
Faiz Qaisary has thrown herself into work with a local nonprofit group called Sahar Education International. They build schools for girls in northern Afghanistan. They choose places where schools for girls are welcomed.
Faiz Qaisary: "I think the least I can do is to help so that they don’t have to have the childhood that I had in Afghanistan."
Sahar Education says its schools have 9,000 girls in the earthquake zone. So far, it looks like they’re all OK.