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From flipping burgers to Harvard. A story of an Afghan Sikh refugee

Afghan-born Awnit Singh Marta, whose parents fled Afghanistan when he was a month old, is not sitting idle

From searching a place to call home to flipping burgers, Afghan-born Awnit Singh Marta has been through quite a bit in life.

And now he has hit another milestone for himself and his family. The first generation student from his family has just graduated from Harvard University.

In an update on his Facebook page, the electrical engineering graduate writes:

“My parents left Afghanistan when I was less than a month old, seeking refuge in The Netherlands. They moved from one country to another to another so that their children could get the education they never received.

I worked three jobs freshman fall, my mental health tumbling alongside my GPA. I’ve delivered laundry, flipped burgers, cleaned dorms, stocked shelves, ushered for events.

I am a Sikh. I am an Afghan. I am a refugee. I am a first gen student.

And from today, I am a graduate of Harvard.”

The news comes at a time when Sikhs in Afghanistan are faced with peril. In March, gunmen stormed a gurdwara in Kabul and killed 26 people. The incident was yet another attack on the minority community. The incident also sparked efforts to get the Afghan Sikhs out of Afghanistan as their lives were at stake.

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