About Us

Who We Are

About

The mission of No One Left Behind is to help Afghan and Iraqi combat interpreters 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.

Our Story

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.

Our Service

The mission of No One Left Behind is to help Afghan and Iraqi combat interpreters 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.

Operation Welcome Home

Provides newly arrived interpreters with funding and assistance in locating, furnishing, and maintaining temporary apartments in their new cities of residence and,when necessary, procuring transportation.

Operation Got Your Back

Provides clients with guidance and support through their initial job searches, locates English classes if necessary, and pairs them up with an American host family to help them to begin to learn cultural and social norms.

Operation Lost in Translation

Reunites interpreters and the US military members with whom they served and instructs veterans on how to best navigate the SIV application process in order to decrease the time it takes for an interpreter to receive a life-saving visa.

Our Goals

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.