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Afghan refugee students finding success in Arizona

Months after fleeing to Arizona, dozens of Afghan refugee women are leaning on their education at ASU as community organizations welcome them with open arms.

PHOENIX — Today, was more than just shopping and a make-over for dozens of Afghan refugee students involved in the partnership with the International Rescue Committee and Arizona State University to further their education. 

"They are brilliant women," said Tamala McBath, CEO of Dress for Success Phoenix. "We are enhancing them and empowering them.” 

Last December, more than 60 Afghan women studying at the Asian University for Women in Afghanistan escaped their homeland after the Taliban takeover. 

“Thousands of people were trying to get into the airport, and we were in almost seven buses full of girls,” said Fahima, one of those students.

Together, Dress for Success Phoenix along with style experts from Cabi and makeup artists from The Sparkle Bar offered a variety of services to help students better prepare for finding viable employment in Arizona. 

“These ladies were in university, studying and moving forwards. It’s hard to fathom that these women left their homeland not voluntarily,” said McBath. 

In the last two decades, education has opened doors to millions of Afghan women, but the Taliban takeover caused major setbacks. 

“Thinking about my family back in Afghanistan; thinking about millions of girls. They are not safe. I’m worried about their lives," said Fahima. 

But today's evert is allowing Afghan women to lean into their education and the open arms of the community. 

“When I was very young, I dreamed of being in the court as a judge," said Latifa, another student in the program. "I would love to go back and work for my people and serve them.”   

One day women like Fahima and Latifa hope to return to Afghanistan to help serve their people and will use their education to do it. 

“I want to help women to know about their rights and live independently and to be treated equally," Fahima said. "I know it’s hard, but I hope I can do a little bit to bring positive changes that I can do from my side.”  

Dress for Success Phoenix: 

"Dress for Success Phoenix is a nonprofit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. Since opening its doors in 2009, the organization has assisted more than 18,000 women throughout the metro-Phoenix area."

Sparkle Bar:

"The Sparkle Bar, an all-inclusive makeup and beauty studio, was founded in 2015  in Scottsdale, Arizona. Our priority is your happiness and comfort, and our team brings this with our impeccable and inclusive services. Our hand selected team is highly experienced and will strive to bring out your inner sparkle."   

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