In the summer of 2022, Oleksii arrived in Minnesota after leaving his war-torn homeland of Ukraine, and Sayed Basir arrived here after a year-long wait following his evacuation from Afghanistan. Arrive Ministries resettled the families of both men, and within months they both chose to work with us, based on the meaningful impact they experienced first-hand as Arrive Ministries clients.
It’s a great place to work, you can assist different people in different services. It’s a Christian organization which is why it offers meaningful work for us,” said Oleksii.
Oleksii and Sayed Basir have formed a deep friendship based on their shared life experiences of leaving their homelands and restarting life anew here.
In some ways we have similar cultures that are more communal than individualistic…
In Ukraine and Afghanistan, we always shake hands in the morning as a greeting and we value grabbing a spontaneous coffee together. The similarity of our cultures helps us feel understood,” said Sayed Basir.
We are foreign men with a similar culture. It was easy for us to become friends, we have a lot of fun,” said Oleksii.
The friends rib each other if they don’t catch some of the slang phrases spoken around the office.
“We have an agreement that if everyone laughs in a meeting, we tap each other and say “okay, start laughing,” jokes Sayed.
Following the uprooting of their families’ lives, the past couple of years have caused each man a great deal of heartbreak from afar; Oleksii watching the war continue in Ukraine, Sayed watching the Taliban revoke the rights and educational opportunities for women in Afghanistan. Yet, both men express a deep appreciation for a job that fosters unique cross-cultural bonds with colleagues while serving refugees together.
We have a great team here who are very kind to people. We had great onboarding to prepare us for our work,” said Oleksii.
“My supervisor and coworkers have helped me to feel empowered in my work. I understood everything in a month based on their assistance and patience in answering my thousands of questions. I am improving every day,” said Sayed Basir.
Oleksii and Sayed enjoy assisting each other in serving their refugee clients with care. As an employment counselor Sayed helps Oleksii’s Ukrainian clients find jobs; and Oleksii often translates for Sayed when he has appointments with Ukrainian-speaking clients.
We are grateful to have Oleksii and Sayed Basir as part of the Arrive Ministries team!