In August we saw everything collapse, not just Kabul but also our dreams, our aspirations, our country.

We had a normal life. My generation, we thought we were the luckiest generation that Afghanistan ever had. We saw lots of good things happening every day. We were so hopeful to pursue education, to build networks to transform the society. To make Afghanistan a better place, a place that our children could have a better life. We thought we were really blessed and lucky to live in such a situation.

It was my job to assess the political trends. I thought that the US was not leaving without any political settlement and will not leave the country to the Taliban. So even though I saw the big cities being taken over by the Taliban I thought they were leverages to pressure the President to step down. But I thought Kabul would never fall. It took everyone by surprise when it happened. It shocked the whole world, it took everyone all over the world by surprise.

We were evacuated on the 20th August. The world was watching. It was a big tragedy.

If I divide the past three months into two phases – the first phase is very dark. The second phase is very bright when I get to the Refugee Council, when I find help and when I see them helping us. We realised there are people out there helping us. We were very happy.

We felt it is not like a job for the Refugee Council, it is a real aspiration for us to be able to live. We made friendships, the people there are very nice people. They are helping us in a way that you think family members would. They really know their job, they are professional and caring.

I definitely want to work. The next thing that I am grateful about to the Refugee Council is they have a work coach so we are working together to see what the opportunities are for me to use my skills and my background. So we will see what opportunities we have.

Refugee Council helps refugees with a wide range of issues. All the basic things that a newcomer needs. So they help you to find English classes, they follow up with the refugees to make sure they have access to education facilities so they can learn the language. They help us to navigate and explore the city and see what is interesting for those that are looking for a job. Helping with kids schools, everything. They do it in a way that you really think you are not left alone, there are people out there to help you.


Photo: 2021.11 Times Christmas Appeal, Andrew McCaren for the Sunday Times

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