More about the woman behind the image that defined ECDC’s 40th Anniversary. 

Written By: Vionne Dosky

In Arlington, Virginia, ACC-DC’s ECDC branch office is a diverse collective of professionals from various backgrounds. Within the Reception and Placement (R&P) department, there is a remarkable individual named Manizha Nuzhat, aged 27, who stands out. Nuzhat is a polyglot, fluent in English, Dari, Pashto, and Urdu. Her roots trace back to Afghanistan, forging a deep connection with the majority of clients the R&P program serves today. In October 2021, despite her initial hesitancy, Nuzhat made the courageous decision to relocate to the United States. Reflecting on her past life in Afghanistan, she said, “My life was amazing in Afghanistan, but due to certain circumstances, I had to leave.” Prior to her U.S. journey, Nuzhat held pivotal roles with the UN Mission, serving as an Associate Budget and Finance Officer and Medical Coordinator in New York and Afghanistan.

When asked about her motivation for entering the field of refugee resettlement, Nuzhat shared, “Interacting with people reminds me of Afghanistan and doesn’t allow me to forget my culture and nationality.” She candidly discussed her own challenges during her transition to the United States, which fueled her desire to work in a capacity that could alleviate similar struggles for others. The most profound lesson Nuzhat has gleaned from her tenure at ACC-DC is the importance of discernment. She emphasized, “You should always understand and differentiate what is right and wrong. You should never accept what others say as fact; you have to find out for yourself.”

Nuzhat holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, a testament to her childhood aspiration of becoming a businesswoman. She continues to nurture this passion through her clothing line, Mano Boutique. An invaluable skill she has acquired since coming to the U.S. is the ability to say no when necessary. Nuzhat explained, “Sometimes, saying no can be a lifesaver.” Her love for Afghanistan encompasses its language, culture, natural beauty, traditions, and the warmth of its people. Above all, she aspires to show the world that Afghanistan is much more than the face of war.

Despite her relatively short time as an ACC-DC team member, Nuzhat’s impact is immeasurable. Her unique perspectives, extensive knowledge, and boundless compassion enrich both the office environment and the lives of her clients. Her steadfast commitment to easing the struggles faced by others during their transition to the United States continues to be realized daily.

Manizha is not just an extraordinary presence within the local branch; on January 17th, 2023, she also became the symbolic face selected by the Ethiopian Community Development Council inc. to commemorate its 40th Anniversary. This iconic image perfectly encapsulated the spirit of ACC-DC’s mission, symbolizing the resilience, unity, and hope that refugees and immigrants bring to their new homes in the United States.

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