Young Afghan's horizons widen

ANNA PRICE
Last updated 15:48 19/12/2013
Sabor Masud

CAREER OPTIONS: Sabor Masud on the road.

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Sabor Masud knew no English when he arrived in New Zealand at age 10 from his volatile homeland of Afghanistan.

Today, Sabor, 24, is one of a rare breed positioned for both professional and trades careers.

"In the unstable world economy, you need to be able to adjust your career to the current economy in order to succeed, " he said. "I'm keeping my career options open."

He sold his first house at age 17 while still a Year 13 student at Shirley Boys' High.

That year, he became the youngest real estate dealer in the region, and possibly New Zealand.

He put his real estate licence on hold to study for a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Canterbury, majoring in accounting and taxation.

He wanted to honour his family's wishes that he further his academic studies.

His father, Dr Mahboub Masud, died in a rocket attack on his hospital in the capital Kabul during the mujihadeen war.

"This is one of the reasons our mother brought us here. When we arrived in New Zealand we spoke no English, only Dari."

Today, one brother is a sole trader, another runs his own business and export enterprise, and a sister has completed an economics degree.

While still completing university, Sabor was offered a fulltime position with Inland Revenue - and soon gained promotion to collections officer.

This year after graduating, he launched his own company, Topcoat Painters and Decorators, managing seven fulltime staff engaged in EQC, insurance work and new builds.

This was possible with the help of his brother who had experience in the field. "I'm lucky to have all these doors open to me at this age.

"I was given opportunities and took them. My whole goal was to have a couple of careers open and be flexible."

His fledgling business commits him to at least 13 or 14 hours a day.

A Shia Muslim, he says his practices have helped him become more disciplined, organised and more goal-driven.

Speaking invitations always trickle in and Sabor is only too happy to encourage "ethnic young guys and young Kiwis".

Sabor is fluent in English but his mother insists the family speak Dari at home.

Life took another happy turn this year. Sabor celebrated his marriage to compatriot Nilafar Saadat, an English language graduate.

The earthquakes brought back some rugged memories.

"They sort of reminded us what happened back home, the wars and stuff."

He may visit Afghanistan "in years to come", and still keeps in contact with friends and family in that starkly beautiful but troubled land.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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