Refugee Teens Write Book, ‘My Unfinished Story’

Dec 27, 2018, 8:43 PM | Updated: 8:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – They met under the direst circumstances and have found a home here in Utah.

They’re refugees from Afghanistan who almost didn’t survive the violence of their war-torn country. Now they’ve written a book they hope will help others.

“I’m from Afghanistan,” said Jawad Amini, who is 18.

“I’m from Afghanistan, too,” said Jawid Ehsani, who is 17.

They are unlikely friends who are now like brothers.

“Yes, we’re a family,” said Ehsani.

Both now live in Pleasant Grove.

Jawad Amini, left, and Jawid Ehsani, right, are from Afghanistan. The two forged a strong bond and an Indonesian refugee camp.

Jawad Amini, left, and Jawid Ehsani, right, are from Afghanistan. The two forged a strong bond and an Indonesian refugee camp.

Four years ago, Amini was captured by the Taliban. They found a book in his car written in English, which was forbidden. Amini escaped and fled to a refugee camp in Indonesia, where he met Ehsani, an orphan.

“My mom died when I was like 4 or 5,” Ehsani said, and his dad died when he was a baby. “He got cut by the Taliban.”

The two forged a strong bond in an Indonesian refugee camp. Through Catholic Community Services’ Refugee Foster Care program, Ehsani came to live with the Macdonalds in Pleasant Grove.

“Families are formed in different ways,” said Brett Macdonald, their foster father.

Ehsani encouraged them to bring Amini.

“Jawid has been with us for two and half years, and Jawad has been with us for a year and a half,” Macdonald said.

Ehsani said, “Yah, I was happy.” Amini said, “We are happy together.”

“I think it’s very important to feel like you are not completely disconnected and alone,” Macdonald said.

He encouraged the young men to write about their past.

“We wanted them to hold on to things that were important to them as they started new lives here,” he said. “We wanted them to remember their heritage and remember their families. Out of those conversations came sketches and came stories, and so we started to put those together.”

They created a book called, “My Unfinished Story.” It encourages others to write down their stories as well.

Amini and Ehsani came to live with their foster family through Catholic community services. The book they wrote is divided into sections the past present and future with space to write down and sketch memories.

Amini and Ehsani came to live with their foster family through Catholic community services. The book they wrote is divided into sections the past present and future with space to write down and sketch memories.

“What hard experiences have I had? What important things have I learned?” Macdonald said.

The hope is that other refugee youth will use the book to connect to their past so they can build a strong future.

said, “It will help others who are going through a similar experience,” said Aden Batar, Director of Migration and Refugee Services, with Catholic Community Services. “Hopefully, they can all come together one day and say, ‘Look what I have done. Look what I have accomplished.’”

The book is divided into sections: the past, present and future, with space to write down and sketch memories.

“It gives you hope,” said Ehsani.

Much of his past is still a mystery. Though he can’t look back much, he can look forward.

“He is going to be somebody’s background,” Macdonald said. “He’s going to be somebody’s father, somebody’s grandfather, somebody’s great grandfather.”

It was a book that put Amini’s life in jeopardy before, and now a book is helping him find a new life.

They’re both starting to visualize their futures.

“Get a job, get married,” said Amini.

“I want to be a doctor,” Ehsani said. “I want to have a family, kids.”

The young men and their foster family are working on developing a website where the book will be available. If you’re interested in getting a copy of the book now, contact Catholic Community Services.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

FILE -- This Feb. 8, 2017, photo, Utah State Crime Lab Director Jay Henry holds a sexual assault ev...
Daniella Rivera

Utah abortion laws unclear on reporting, verification process for sexual assault victims

Utah abortion bans require law enforcement and physicians to work together to help victims of sexual assault who are seeking abortion care, but KSL Investigators found the state has not established a uniform process to ensure that happens.
1 day ago
(Debbie Worthen/KSL TV)...
Matt Rascon

Two boys on a bike critically injured in South Jordan crash

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Police say two children are in critical condition after a SUV driver hit them while they were in the bike lane on 11400 South in South Jordan. Sgt. Eric Anderson with the South Jordan Police Department said the crash happened near the intersection of 2200 West and 11400 South just before noon […]
1 day ago
Ormond Construction crews install secondary water meters in a subdivision in Woods Cross for the We...
Keira Farrimond and Dan Spindle, KSL TV

Metering Utah’s secondary water may help overuse in drought

During the driest months of the year, Utahns' yards can be a primary culprit for water overuse but there's one thing some water districts are seeing make a big difference in how much customers use: secondary water meters.
1 day ago
Candice Madsen, KSL TV

A more perfect Union: Former Senator Joe Lieberman discusses the constitution

At a troubled time in American politics, one man has a unique perspective, having been at the center of several key turning points.
1 day ago
FILE The views from Frey Peak in Antelope Island State Park in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. (Larry D....
Carter Williams, Deseret News

‘Art is a good teacher’: New public exhibit draws attention to the drying Great Salt Lake

Jacob Brooks' latest painting is quite simple, so simple that his 3-year-old son can understand the message Brooks is trying to convey: trying to save the Great Salt Lake.
1 day ago
Ogden police blocking off roads of Ogden-Weber Technical College after a bomb threat call....
Michael Houck

Police respond to bomb threat at Ogden-Weber Technical College, no device found

Ogden-Weber Technical College closed for the day after a bomb threat was made toward the campus Wednesday afternoon. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah Voters 50+ Support Increased Access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Refugee Teens Write Book, ‘My Unfinished Story’