Student launches ‘Helping Hands for Afghans’


Courtesy of Behzad Hashemi

Phi Kappa Psi supports Hashemi and his GoFundMe launch which provides aid to Afghan families.

by Jayne Yutig, Assistant Multimedia Editor

The United States withdrawal in Afghanistan is complete and with refugee families resettling in San Diego, Phi Kappa Psi fraternity members are donating time and money to help Afghans begin their new lives.

Business and real estate junior and Phi Kappa Psi member, Behzad Hashemi is asking San Diego State students to assist local families that have relocated after evacuating Afghanistan. Hashemi and his fraternity launched a GoFundMe, Helping Hands for Afghans and have raised over $5,000 for families transitioning into new homes.

Just a few weeks after Hashemi came up with the idea for the fundraiser after a conversation with his father, the fraternity has already moved families in.

“They’re our neighborhood community members. They’re right around the corner. It’s something that you can go see what you’re making a difference with,” Hashemi said.
Afghan families that are resettled in San Diego embark on a new journey. They are quickly brought into a country with a new culture and language to learn. Families are separated from their home country that they fled amid the crisis. Hashemi said the fundraising efforts will directly help local families with their next chapter. Some families who are being resettled only have the clothes they were wearing during the evaluation. 

“This is a tangible difference that I think people can get together and see the difference you’re making,” Hashemi said. “These are people who helped the U.S., they are supportive of our efforts and I think it’s our job to have their backs.”

Phi Kappa Psi members move families into their new homes. ( Courtesy of Behzad Hashemi)

On Sept. 23, Hashemi and fraternity members moved a family of six with four young children into an apartment five minutes away from SDSU. The fraternity has been working closely with Helping El Cajon Refugees, a resettlement agency that helps refugees. Hashemi said the agencies have families lined up weekly that Phi Kappa Psi will assist with moving in.

“For the refugees, San Diego is considered a preferred destination and it’s because of the vibrant Afghan community here,” Hashemi said.

Phi Kappa Psi President and aerospace engineering junior Jack Egan said since they began working with the resettlement agencies, about 12 fraternity members have joined in to help. Egan said Hashemi was relentless in getting fraternity members excited about helping the families.

“It was an issue many of us were informed about but to see it affect someone in your chapter’s life like that made all the difference,” Egan said.

The fraternity’s efforts to help Afghan refugees are deeply personal to Hashemi. Hashemi has members of his extended family still living in Afghanistan. Hashemi’s grandmother was an interpreter with the U.S. Marines and working with the Afghan people in the country. Hashemi’s mother, Noor Hashemi, is working 12-13 hour days in Michigan as a caregiver to refugee children.
Hashemi said his deep connection to the Afghan people is the reason he has unwavering support from his fraternity.

“He’s been a shoulder to lean on when anybodys been going through any turmoil in their life. I was not surprised that he would be the guy to start a charity like this for the house,” Egan said. “He’s a beam of light in the chapter.”