A journey of hope

Dec 7, 2023Articles
Appeal for website

For privacy purposes the student’s name and likeness have been changed.

After leaving Afghanistan, Ibrahim and his family started a new life here in Pittsburgh. Ibrahim recalls, “We looked for a place to continue learning English and other skills and we found Literacy Pittsburgh. Now we divide our time between working and education – both are important. Literacy Pittsburgh has been such a help with education for my kids.” 

“Everything is new for us,” he continued. “We are starting from zero. The most important thing for me is thinking about my kids’ education, and Literacy Pittsburgh is helping my family gain the skills we need. Our goal is to start a family business. We are thinking of opening a small Afghan restaurant!” 

Ibrahim, his wife, two daughters, and oldest son are all currently taking classes at Literacy Pittsburgh. 

Before coming to Pittsburgh, Ibrahim had a prestigious job working for the government in Afghanistan. He lived in Kabul with his wife and five children, and their lives were “very good,” he says. “Very normal.” That all changed in 2021 when the Taliban returned to power.  Anyone associated with the newly overthrown republic was a particular target of the Taliban extremists. One frantic night, Ibrahim and his family were forced to flee with just the clothes on their backs. They left behind everything, all their possessions. But they had each other and they managed to escape with their lives. 

With the help of friends, Ibrahim and his family were eventually able to fly to Qatar, where they lived on a U.S. military base for a year. After a long and stressful wait—during which time they practiced their English aided by videos on YouTube—they were finally relocated to the United States. Ibrahim now faced a tough choice: would he and his wife and children be best served by living near family members in Virginia, a nephew in Los Angeles, or a family friend in Ohio? Or should they take a chance on Pittsburgh with its low cost of living, good job market, and extensive educational resources? Advice came from an unlikely source: the pilot of the plane flying them to the U.S. 

“I remember talking to the pilot about the different places we could go,” Ibrahim says. “He said Pittsburgh would be the best place for our kids’ education. Our main goal was education.” 

 They chose Pittsburgh. 

It’s only through the support of our donors that students like Ibrahim and his family can make progress toward their goals. Your support has an enormous impact on the lives of real people and helps them take the next steps in their lives. Please help them today by giving generously. 

Make a year-end gift today and help our students reach their goals! 

Thanks to a generous matching grant from a Pittsburgh Family Foundation, any gift made through the end of the year will be doubled. $20 becomes $40, $50 becomes $100, $250 becomes $500!  


Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped more than 4,000 individuals acquire the skills needed to reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, digital literacy, English language learning, math, reading, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Pittsburgh Learning Center.       

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