Who We Are
The mission of No One Left Behind is to stand with our brave wartime allies from Afghanistan and Iraq. These individuals chose to serve the US military and government as interpreters and in other support roles, often at great risk to their lives and the lives of their loved ones. After an extensive application and security vetting process, many have been and will continue to be resettled in the US under the Special Immigrant Visa program. Others continue to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan as they struggle and wait for their Visa to be approved. Some were forced to flee their home countries in order to seek relative safety elsewhere, though there they often face significant struggles and an uncertain future in these first countries of refuge. No matter where they are, we are committed to doing whatever we can to make sure that no one is left behind.
Message from Matt Zeller, Founder
I should have died on April 28, 2008. Instead, I was able to return to my family and beautiful baby girl because my Afghan interpreter, Janis Shinwari, killed two Taliban fighters who were about to shoot me. My experience is not unique. Our Afghan and Iraqi interpreters have saved thousands of American lives. They should be treated as heroes. However, our nation is failing to adequately repay our debt to these brave men and their families.
Janis faithfully served America in Afghanistan for 8 years and saved countless American lives. Yet, despite promises the U.S. Military made to every local interpreter supporting our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it took me more than 3 years to get Janis and his family away from the Taliban fighters hunting them. Janis was lucky. Too often, government red-tape results in our interpreters being left behind and in harm’s way. And for those fortunate enough to receive a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) to come to America, like Janis? Once here, they and their families are largely left to fend for themselves.
In November 2013, Janis and I started No One Left Behindwith one mission: to ensure America treats our interpreters as the heroes and veterans they are. We then started to cut through the bureaucracy, help endangered interpreters and their families immigrate to the United States and establish the services and support they need when they arrive. Headquartered in Washington, DC, we fund resettlement activities through entirely volunteer staffs in the greater DC area and at four subordinate chapters located in San Francisco, Upstate NY, Boston, and Chicago.
The mission of No One Left Behind is to help America’s Wartime Allies with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) resettle safely in the United States. We bridge the gap that exists between current State Department and NGO refugee relief programs and provide assistance with housing, employment, and cultural adaptation. We treat our clients as the heroic veterans they are.
It is our intention to secure funding and grow our organization to the point where we can consistently deliver on all of the following until such a time that our services are no longer required:
- Annually resettle 120 Afghan and Iraqi translators and their families safely and securely in the United States for the next 10 years.
- Provide three months of housing assistance for each family.
- Provide furnishings, beds, seating, cookware, etc. If we wouldn’t put it in our own homes, we will not put it in our client’s homes.
- Provide one car for each family, if needed for employment. It is our goal to procure these vehicles through donations.
- Assist each client in the process of applying for government benefits (medical and food), enrolling in school, and securing employment.
- Educate the interpreters’ wives and families through free English as a Second Language classes
- Provide each family with at least two ‘host’ families that can help answer questions about America and help with integration into their new communities.