A day at the Georgia Aquarium for group of Afghan families living in Atlanta

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – It has been nearly one year since the U.S. pulled American troops out of Afghanistan.

Many of the Afghan civilians who managed to escape are working to rebuild their lives here in the United States. Some now call Georgia home.

An outing to the Georgia Aquarium for a group of Afghan families Monday afternoon looked like any other Summertime day trip. But the sightseeing adventure to one of Atlanta’s most popular tourist destinations was months in the making.

Moeen Amini, his wife, two sons, and two nephews are new to the U.S. after fleeing their home country of Afghanistan last fall.

“We were stuck outside the airport for three days. We could not make it to get inside,” said Amini.

Amini and his family were among the hundreds of people rushing the Kabul Airport, desperately trying to board a plane to safety. Their decision to leave everything they knew came as the Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban seized control of the country. Amini and his family finally made it out, making several stops along the way, before eventually arriving in Georgia.

“It started with one family last December. It’s grown to four families now,” said Steve Lavene of Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs.

Members of the synagogue Congregation Or Hadash have been helping the families resettled in Georgia. In all, there are now 22 people who have resettled in Georgia from Afghanistan. Many of them are children and are Amini’s extended family members.

“It’s been a whole group of people who donated money and furnishings and clothing,” said Levene. “I think everybody as soon as we announced we were doing this -we had huge support from our synagogue. And I think we all feel really grateful that we can do this.”

Levene said Monday’s trip to the aquarium was made possible by a generous Georgia Aquarium board member who donated tickets. Transportation was also donated.

Meanwhile, Amini says not a day goes by that he and his family don’t miss the life they once had in Afghanistan, but he says it’s not the same country it once was. They’re grateful to have found a new home here in Georgia.

“We had no hope to live there. All we had to hope was to leave the country and stay somewhere else. Right now, we’re living the American dream. We’re here,” said Amini.