Atefe working in the medical field, just months before her family was evacuated from Afghanistan

Ever since she was a kid, Atefe knew she wanted to go into medicine. After watching a TV show about a girl with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Atefe started wondering how she could help people with MS and other conditions. Seeing her budding interest, her mom bought her a doctor’s kit and she loved it.


I always like to do things that others will find difficult.


“I felt a strong passion towards the brain and nervous system. Besides, I always like to do things that others will find difficult,” shared Atefe. 

Back in Afghanistan, she was in medical school and working at a hospital. 

“I planned on continuing my residency in America but I still have to pass the United States Medical Licensing exams,” said Atefe. Atefe first needs to figure out a way to get her transcripts sent to the United States after the Taliban froze any delivery of her transcripts.

With her current immigration status, Atefe is not able to enroll at the University of Minnesota yet.

However, Atefe does not shy away from a challenge. Since arriving in Minnesota in February, Atefe regularly takes the hour-long bus ride to the University of Minnesota to study at their library and meet with a neurosurgeon at UMN who has agreed to mentor her.

Atefe’s family is a part of our Good Neighbor program, and is in friendship with a team from The Grove Church. The Hansons, a couple on the team, give Atefe and her sister, Haniya rides to and from the Maple Grove transit center so they can catch a bus to get to their places of higher education.

Atefe’s sister, Haniya takes the bus every day to Minnesota College of Art and Design with aspirations to work in the field of animation.

“The sisters are friendly young ladies who are very capable young women with a lot of dreams,” said Nancy, the volunteer team leader.


I’ve always imagined stepping out of the operating room, telling family members that their loved one is out of danger, and seeing the smiles on their faces


Atefe plans to pursue a residency in neurosurgery once she is able to obtain the proper documentation. Passing the necessary exams will take a lot of time and money, but she always reminds herself of her greater goal. 

“I’ve always imagined stepping out of the operating room, telling family members that their loved one is out of danger, and seeing the smiles on their faces,” she says.

Going forward, Atefe also wants to travel the world, “I love traveling because it helps us thrive and learn about the world outside of just books.”