Supporting Beyond Borders: Jimmy and Saleha

Supporting Beyond Borders: Jimmy and Saleha's Win-Win

This is the story of Jimmy and Saleha. It’s inspiring and important because, how many times have we heard a story in the news and asked ourselves, “That’s so terrible, is there anything I can do to help?” As the CEO of a nonprofit organization, I ask myself that all the time. The truth is, it’s my job to help. Yet, like everyone else, despite our best intentions, sometimes we try and just don’t get it right. That’s why I love this story.

Most of our readers know that TIEC provided fellowships for 12 Afghan evacuees at Texas universities after the Taliban’s return to authority in Afghanistan. This was a wonderful way to marry up the resources of our university members with the needs of our new Texans. In 2023, TIEC recognized three of our Afghan fellows with our In Fellowship with TIEC award. Jimmy Brazelton, Managing Director of the international exchange organization, GeoVisions, sponsored Saleha Soadat’s award. After reading her life story and spending time with her, Jimmy was wowed. Truthfully speaking, she came to the U.S. with very little English and at the time she met Jimmy, her language skills were not the strongest. This did not deter Jimmy. He saw the quality of Saleha’s mind and knew that her experience as an award-winning reporter in Afghanistan was worth a lot. Thus, shortly after meeting Saleha, he pitched her an idea: GeoVisions would commission her to write a series of articles under her name about GeoVisions’ exchange teachers. Saleha would interview and write in her own voice and style. Jumping forward to this week – GeoVisions just launched the series on their website and it’s wonderful! Teaching Beyond Borders • GeoVisions

Now, it must be stated that working as a journalist in the U.S. is becoming ever more difficult. Add to that equation cultural, linguistic, and professional work differences, and it can feel impossible to overcome the barriers. Offering Saleha the opportunity to work in her field, to continue to practice her profession, is profoundly meaningful for her. Additionally, the subjects of her pieces have much in common with her as newcomers to this country. Saleha has the opportunity to reflect on her own journey as she tells the stories of her subjects.

Those of us who support refugees and survivors of violence should be prepared for a type of responsibility that can, quite frankly, be overwhelming at times. While it may generally feel safer to stay disengaged than to get involved, there is a true reward in being part of a person’s journey to success. In the case of Jimmy and Saleha, the support is a true win-win. Jimmy needs a reporter and Saleha needs a job. The secret sauce was Jimmy recognizing the unique approach Saleha would bring, that he wasn’t just getting a reporter, he was getting a messenger, a translator, a stakeholder.

This example is so positive and powerful, and this kind of help is within reach for all of us. TIEC is a member of Welcome.US and we love the Welcome.US Jobs Exchange. Check it out and create your own win-win.