Artisan Profile - Kolsom


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A life barely begun suddenly uprooted. Kolsom doesn’t remember the day they left Afghanistan. She was only two months old when a bomb exploded in their backyard, and her parents risked everything to smuggle their family into neighboring Iran. 

Safe from the war, yet always viewed as an outsider, nonetheless Kolsom called Iran home for the next thirty years. Over time, however, the discrimination against Afghans became worse and worse. Finally, after the police had stolen her husband’s motorcycle twice and the local public school would not accept her oldest son because he was Afghan, it became unbearable. Once again they were at the mercy of smugglers as they fled to Turkey. 

Life in Turkey was also very difficult. Family members told them to return to Iran, but they held out hope of receiving asylum. At last, after waiting four years, they were registered with the United Nations as refugees and were able to resettle in the United States.

The main reason for me to come here [United States] was my children…for them to live a better life…to continue their education and be safe. They can build a better future here.  [Americans] are more accepting of us here as members of their country.

Through Forai Kolsom is able to make friends and experience a greater sense of well-bring. She finds it so helpful to be able to make jewelry at home while caring for her children. “It’s so good for me to be able to make my own money. I feel different and good when I make jewelry”