Sisters Nazineen Kandahari and Nilufar Kayhani are improving the lives of local Bay Area Afghan refugees. Nazineen, a student in the Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program (JMP), and Nilufar, an undergraduate UC Berkeley student majoring in Public Health, began this mission in January 2020, when they started interviewing Afghan women in the area. They soon partnered with numerous nonprofit organizations focused on refugee resettlement, aid, and healthcare to address the specific health needs of the Afghan community.
Thus, their initiative, Afghan Clinic, was born. The spirit of the Afghan Clinic is rooted in the Afghan tradition of the sofreh, where women gather together to eat, pray, and provide support to one another. The clinic represents both the sisters’ cultural history and academic studies.
Their work has been recognized by the community. Nazineen won a 2020-2021 SF Bay Area Schweitzer Fellowship and a Human Rights Center Fellowship from the UC Berkeley School of Law. Nilufar was awarded a Center for Race and Gender grant from UC Berkeley to support the Afghan Clinic. Nilufar is also an Alumni Scholar Leadership Award 2021-2022 recipient and the recipient of the Cal Pride Scholarship, a merit-based award given to a student for academic achievement, leadership, community involvement, and their contribution to the LGBTQ community. The Cal Pride Scholarship is given by Cal Alumni Pride, the LGBTQ alumni club at UC Berkeley.