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A Note on the Reza Family
by Melanie Naughtin
After the announcement in church Sunday, November 28, regarding the decision to offer assistance to an Afghan family who needed funds to pay for one month of rent and donations of basic furniture, it became very apparent that many people in our congregation have been hoping we could offer aid in this recent humanitarian crisis. In just a matter of minutes, numerous people came forward to offer help with gifts of money and donations of furniture, as well as willingness to give support in many other ways.

Ghulam Reza, age 31, came to the U.S. after spending six years in a refugee camp in Indonesia. He was helped to come here by the UN Refugee Agency and has full refugee status. He has been employed at Cargill in Schuyler, NE but had to leave his job to return to Afghanistan to help his wife, Sharifa, and Gull, their 17 year-old niece, escape the growing danger and uncertainty in their country.

Sharifa and Gull do not have full refugee status, but like many incoming Afghans, they are classified under “humanitarian parole.” Parole offers much less government assistance than refugee status, and therefore puts them at higher risk as they seek a way to resettle here.

Ghulam and Sharifa both have studied at university in Kabul and Sharifa has completed 60 hours of graduate work in Kiel, Germany. They both have good English skills.

When I spoke with Ghulam and Sharifa, I asked them what else they would like our church to know. They said, “We would like you to know how very thankful we are for your help to us.”


421 South 36th Street, Omaha Nebraska, 68131
(Located at the corner of 36th and Harney Streets)






First Central Congregational Church