ITALY: Afghan refugee starts her new life
Salesians for Social APS in Rome is providing support for refugees
(MissionNewswire) Salesians for Social APS in Rome has been taking in refugees to provide them support in their new community. One of these refugees is Negin, a young Afghan woman who fled with her family in 2021. She now lives in Italy and has been welcomed by a supportive network including the Salesians. Negin was able to continue her studies on a refugee scholarship and has started a new life.
Negin remembers the morning in Kabul when her family knew they had to leave Afghanistan. She explained, “It was a day like any other. For weeks, we had all been asking ourselves if they were coming or not. But no one wanted to assume the worst, even though we cried after the conquest of Herat. Then, at 11 that morning in mid-August 2021, we saw the Taliban at home, at the university, in offices, on the streets. Everywhere.”
From that day, the then 19-year-old computer science student began a journey into the unknown. “The journey was long, first by bus to Herat, then by car to the border with Iran, and finally in the Iranian city of Qom, where we waited for the visa for Italy,” she said.
Her mother, Razia, had been expelled from her post as a journalist on Tanandon TV, while her father, Reza, an architect, had been fired by the Ministry of Infrastructure. She also has a brother, Moahmmad Eshan, and little sister, Mathab. They are all rebuilding their lives in Italy.
The family’s escape from Kabul was made possible thanks to their savings and an incredible, yet discreet, network of solidarity coordinated by Italian journalist Maria Grazia Mazzola and by Salesians for Social. Salesians for Social has successfully supported 70 Afghan citizens persecuted by the Taliban.
Negin has continued her studies, which she would not have been able to do in Afghanistan. She said, “Before leaving Kabul, I begged an employee of my university to give me the file with the exams I had done. And now, with that precious piece of paper, I am able to apply for scholarships that LUISS University reserves for refugees.”
This month she has an appointment for her first exam at the Faculty of Economics. Looking to her future, Negin added, “A university degree is the most important goal. But I also hope that my parents will find a job soon because one cannot live with dignity without it.”
When she thinks back to her last few months in Kabul, Negin’s smile cracks. “Of course, that wasn’t a normal life. But it was still my country, our home was there, our friends were there. Then almost everyone left, leaving a whole life behind them. Like us.”
Salesians for Social fights against educational poverty and inequality for poor youth and their families through educational and social programs in Italy. These programs are possible with the support of donors and volunteers and with the collaboration of local businesses and institutions.
Salesian programs across Italy help youth who are unable to attend school and others who drop out to work at the few jobs available to them. A growing number of children work as laborers on farms and others have turned to the sex trade to help support their families. Those in poverty often live without adequate shelter, hot water, regular meals and health care.
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