Afghan refugee resource hub opens in Minneapolis

The door to a cultural center
The entrance to the Afghan Cultural Society’s new support center is seen on Thursday in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Updated 12:15 p.m.

A new resource center for Afghan refugees opened its doors Thursday in Minneapolis. The center on Cedar Avenue will serve as a resettlement support space for Afghan refugees in the Twin Cities.

The center will help connect refugees to housing, education, basic needs and more, said Nasreen Sajady, advocacy director with the Afghan Cultural Society. It will help people navigate school conferences with their children, translate important documents and create a welcoming environment for those who had to flee and start a new life, Sajady added.

The Afghan Cultural Society, along with other area organizations, helped make the center possible, and they anticipate working with hundreds of Afghan refugees in the coming months.

Two women wearing traditional Afghan dresses smile
Afghan Cultural Society co-founders Nasreen Sajady and Amina Baha pose for a photo during an open house at the organization’s new support center in Minneapolis on Thursday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Rezadad Mohammadi left Afghanistan in 2015 to finish his education in the U.S. When the Taliban retook control of the country in August 2021, Mohammadi reached out via social media to connect with other Afghans living in Minnesota. That’s when he met Sajady and Afghan Cultural Society co-founder Amina Baha.

Now Mohammadi works as the Afghan Cultural Society’s family coach, where he helps newly arrived Afghans chart a path toward achieving educational and career goals. 

A young man with dark hair wearing a white tunic
Rezadad Mohammadi, family coach at the Afghan Cultural Society, hopes the new support center in Minneapolis can be a healing space for Afghan refugees.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

He said his biggest hope for the new center is that it provides a healing space for Afghans.

On Sept. 30, a suicide bomber killed more than 50 people in a Hazara neighborhood in Kabul. Mohammadi, who is a member of the Hazara ethnic minority, quickly sprang into action to organize a local candlelight vigil.

“It was really powerful,” he said. “Within three days' notice, nearly 200 people showed up.”

Mohammadi hopes the center continues to be a place where Afghans from diverse backgrounds can come together to talk about their differences.