A year ago this month, Basir Akrami and his wife and two daughters were resettled in the United States after fleeing Afghanistan when the U.S. pulled out of the country. Basir and his family were a part of the far-too-few Afghans who made it through the airport when thousands rushed its gates.
“We had a rough few days of travel,” Basir said. “My family and I had to imagine it was a bad dream we would eventually wake up from.”
The Akrami family arrived originally in El Paso, Texas, before resettling in Memphis, where World Relief Memphis welcomed them and paired them with a host family.
After a few weeks of acclimating to their new home, Basir talked with WRM director PJ Moore about where in the city he could pursue his lifelong passion of working in cyber security. Without missing a beat, PJ reached out to Tech901.
“I met with Robert and Blair and shared my story with them,” Basir said. “They said they wanted to help me join the program, and I started the IT Foundations course.”
Immediately, Basir excelled. His love of IT runs deep, stemming from his first encounter with a computer in 2001.
“In 2001, no one I knew had any experience with a computer,” Basir said. “But late that year, my uncle brought one to my family from Pakistan. From there, I started playing and working on the computer.”
Basir knew this was his calling and enrolled in the IT program at Kabul University of Afghanistan. He thrived in his first year. However, his advisors informed him that because of the underdeveloped technology scene of the country, he would struggle to find work. To avoid this, he switched majors and pursued a career in economics. From there, he got a job in the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan, where he worked in security.
When he got to the states, he wanted to seize the opportunity and reboot his IT aspirations.
“I appreciated how quickly my teachers trusted me,” Basir said. “Blair once told my class if you've studied and practiced, trust your gut. Don't second guess and change your answer. It feels nice to have people believe in me.”
After passing his foundation courses, Basir landed a job in IT support. At first, he worked on laptop repairs before advancing to a new position where he now provides soft services on various devices and programs.
Along with his work, Basir continued his education on his own, achieving multiple IT certifications in the security field. Currently, he’s returned to Tech901 and is taking our IT Networking course.
“My ultimate goal is to become a cybersecurity specialist,” Basir said. “This may take three or four years and be a lot of work, but I know I’m doing my best. My family, as well as my friends at World Relief and Tech901, fully support me. This is what I love to do.”
Having Basir as a part of our program has been a blessing and an encouragement to all of us. His tenacity for what he loves and perseverance through unimaginable hardship are an inspiration for our whole team. It is our honor to provide a means for Basir to fulfill his decades-long aspirations.
To end our talk, Basir shared a concluding word of encouragement for those considering Tech901 to pursue an IT career.
“I feel proud to be a part of Tech901,” Basir said. “When I first passed my A+ exam, I did not feel much excitement. But when I walked out of the room, Robert and others were waiting for me, and when they heard I passed, they got so excited. It made me feel good.”
“I have done a lot of (academic) studying in my life,” Basir continued. “But when I came here, I found it so friendly. I could always ask questions and get helpful answers. If you come to Tech901, they will always support you.”