A San Diego volunteer helps newly arrived immigrants from Afghanistan

Ajrudin Nabizada, originally from Afghanistan, moved to San Diego in 2014. He volunteers his time in Jamatkhana and outside, working to help arriving Afghan Ismaili families settle into their new lives as part of the San Diego Jamat.

Ajrudin describes his experience as a Jamati volunteer and what keeps him inspired to continue his service.

What led you to become a Jamati volunteer?

When I lived in Peshawar, Pakistan, after leaving Afghanistan to escape the civil war, I saw how supportive and loving the volunteers were at welcoming the Afghan Ismailis there. I thought that I should also take part and do what I can to be a part of the Jamat as well. I was also inspired by Hazar Imam’s blessings to the volunteers, and I became a volunteer in Pakistan in 1999. I became a volunteer in San Diego in 2015.

Tell us more about your experience being a volunteer in San Diego

When I moved here, I found that my Ismaili brothers from other parts of the world, like India and East Africa, really helped me feel a part of the community and helped me settle here. Their support inspired me to volunteer as well, and work with other Afghan families to help them integrate. I take them to the Department of Motor Vehicles to help them get driving licenses, with various paperwork, and also bring them to Jamatkhana.

Have you been a volunteer during one of Hazar Imam’s visits?

Yes, I was a volunteer in 2000 in Pakistan, and was a uniformed volunteer in 2018 in Atlanta, when Hazar Imam visited the USA.

Can you describe an experience that keeps you motivated to keep volunteering?

In 2000, during the Deedar in Pakistan, my first one, I was assigned near the stage where the Imam would be sitting. But I was later reassigned to another area, where I would not have a view of the Imam, and I was sad in my heart to miss this opportunity. An hour into my duty, another volunteer came and asked me to sit right in front of the stage, across from Hazar Imam’s chair, to keep children from climbing on it. I was so surprised to find myself there, and so lucky to have the chance to be in that spot. That experience showed me that when you perform service with passion, love, and heart, you will receive rewards. I went back to Afghanistan from 2004-2008 and volunteered there in my Jamat, and I know I will keep volunteering until I die.