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NJ Staff spotlight: From Client to Caseworker

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For many Afghan arrivals, temporary housing meant living in a hotel for over a month after already living at a base for weeks. This has been the experience of many Afghans who evacuated from Afghanistan at the start of fall 2021. For Shir Zad, this too was his reality. Once connected with an IRC in NJ caseworker, the work to find permanent housing and turn a new chapter in an awaited resettlement journey began. Shir Zad, who formerly worked in multi-cultural environments and received his post-graduate degree in political science, was determined to help families at the hotel who, like himself, were displaced and in pursuit of a fresh and safe start.

Shir Zad graciously provided IRC staff support with translation at the hotel to help with key conservations. Meanwhile, Shir Zad’s IRC in NJ caseworker and housing specialist helped find an apartment for him and his spouse. After an extended stay at the hotel, Shir Zad moved to his new apartment and began his new role as an IRC in NJ caseworker!   

The opportunity to work in the NGO sector and apply his vast personal, academic, and sector knowledge was great news for Shir Zad. Shir Zad brings a deep understanding both as a client and translator, a skillset that helps him to identify and resolve families' exact concerns and needs. In light of this state of crisis, recovery, and resettlement, Shir Zad's contribution has already proven valuable in supporting clients. Shir Zad shares excitement about the chance to protect the integrity and agency of clients. He continues to build a productive connection with clients- citing his experience being on the receiving end as integral to ensuring clients are taken care of.

He understands the hardships clients face and applies this perspective to bring new strategies to fruition. The IRC in NJ R&P team is proud to call Shir Zad a colleague and hopes to learn from him.