Nooralhaq Nasimi and his family fled Afghanistan in 1999, after the country had fallen into the hands of the Taliban, a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement.
The insurgents had imposed a strict version of Islam in Afghanistan, persecuting anyone who would not abide by their laws. These rules restricted several freedoms, particularly those of women.
"Killings, persecution, torture and arrests were normal," Nasimi told IBTimes UK . "For people like myself, who had studied in the former Soviet Union, it was impossible to live under the Taliban regime and follow their rules."
The Taliban's violent insurgency left Nasimi and his family no choice but to flee and relocate to the UK, hoping to build a new life free from war and persecution.
After spending two years in Britain, Nasimi decided he wanted to do something for the Afghan refugees in the country, particularly Afghan women who, he said, are some of the most persecuted in the world.
In 2001, Nasimi founded the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association(Acaa) in London.
Although the Taliban rule in Afghanistan ended in 2001, the insurgents still control some swathes of the country. Violence against Afghan women continues at the hands of the extremists, but also due to strict cultural practices.
Right group Amnesty international said in its latest report on human rights in Afghanistan that "violence against women and girls persisted, and there was a reported increase in armed groups publicly punishing women including through executions and lashings".
"Traditionally, in Afghanistan, women do not have the same rights as men, because of wars and conflicts and extreme traditional and cultural views and that is why we want to help them, to reduce those problems and help women who are very new to this [UK] society," Nasimi said.
Acaa is today providing support to refugees from across central Asia, with some of the projects being supported by the UK government.
"As a refugee myself, I have experienced a lot of pain and challenges and I feel there is a need to support other people in a similar position I was at the time, when I came to the UK,"Nasimi explained.
"People who come here cannot speak the language, they don't know the system, they don't know anything about the new society."
Shabnam Nasimi, who volunteers for the organisation's women's projects, told IBTimes UK: "[One of the projects] is funded by the Home Office and aims to tackle radicalisation and extremism and we work with Muslim women, because they are the essence of the family. We deliver weekly workshops, also providing an hour of English every Saturday."
Among other projects, the organisation offers a Tea Corner service to allow "Afghan women and other isolated groups to share their experience and develop their skills in a friendly environment".
"We try to empower them and give them a voice and give them an opportunity to socialise and meet new people," Shabnam said.
To mark Refugee Week in the UK (19-25 June), Nasimi called on communities across the UK to come together and tackle misconceptions about refugees.
"The UK is one of the best models in terms of integration in the world, people have access to social services, they can seek advice, mentoring and counselling," he said.
"Refugees just want to have a normal life and we must work together to tackle misconceptions, it is all about perception and education. Through events and cultural exchange, we can tackle those negative views on refugees, so that communities can see the great socio-economic contributions contributions refugees are making to society."