No safe place

Basira Haidari

Despite hardships, she’s happy to escape war


Basira Haidari, 22, peers out her repaired window, which was broken by vandals as her 18-month-old daughter slept in their Skyview Villa apartment on Nov. 19, 2015, in Sacramento. She is two months pregnant.  “I’m so happy because I wanted one more,” she said. “I like American baby.” But she worries about safety, and walking along Edison Avenue to her English class with her daughter. “Small boys say bad words to me and throw small rocks at my head, and it's not safe here,” she said. After a neighbor was struck and killed by a distracted driver and his son severely injured while riding bikes along Edison Avenue, she said that many mothers don’t take their children to the park any longer. “No, it’s too dangerous,” she said. “We want to move, but we can’t afford to.”


While trying to help other Afghan refugees, Basira Haidari, 22, comforts her daughter in their ESL class on Oct. 5, 2015, in Sacramento. Haidari understands and speaks more English than her classmates, and helps the teacher, who does not speak their native language.

Sitting in child-size classroom chairs, classmates depend upon Basira Haidari’s English-speaking skills during their ESL classes at Dyer-Kelly Elementary School. Haidari keeps her 18-month-old daughter, Raheel, close.

Basira Haidari works on an English lesson with her daughter Raheel at Dyer-Kelly Elementary School. Haidari longs to continue her schooling, but said she can’t afford day care. “I’m livid about it,” she said.

Basira Haidari doesn’t feel safe in her apartment after vandals broke her window and her next-door neighbor was shot and  blinded by a flare gun. She has complained about bug bites and cockroaches. Her husband, Mohammad Amid Haidari, 25, right, said they have relied on help from a family friend in the absence of assistance from the resettlement agency. Despite their hardships, Basira Haidari said, “I’m happy to live here (in the U.S.), because every day was war (in Afghanistan).”