SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A group of friends are having a fundraiser to help a foreign exchange student, from Afghanistan, bring his family to Utah.
Obaid Barakzaisa has lived in Utah since 2016, his family is currently stuck in Kabul.
“It’s a big deal for him and it is a big deal for us as well.” says Ted Barnes Jr. “We have been really close with him for a long time, we are inspired by him he has been giving speeches at the U.N.”
As the deadline for Americans to withdraw from the country looms, Barakzaisa’s friends have set up a fundraiser at Vertical Diner to help pay for Barakzaisa to bring his family to Utah.
“These donations that I am getting with the help of my amazing community and friends will help get my family out of Kabul Afghanistan application fees, visas, airfares, and more,” Barakzaisa explains. “It feels amazing the whole community has my back. We are all working for an inclusive Utah and trying to help each other out during this difficult time.”
There is no timeline as to when Barakzaisa’s family could be heading to Utah but as of now he says they are safe and hopes this inspires others to help.
Barakzais says he looks forward to the days when he and his family will be reunited.
“These days with all the news of explosions my memories are being shattered and it feels very heart breaking,” Barakzais shares.
The group hopes to raise $10,000 with the fundraiser lasting until about 4 p.m. Monday.