Refugee story: Sharifa (Mar 19)

03/04/19

This is Sharifa from Kabul, Afghanistan. Her 2 brothers and 1 younger sister are all in Sweden with their mother. Sharifa stayed in Kabul with her husband who worked for a politician. She completed 3 years of her Medicine degree at Kabul University before having to leave.

On Afghanistan: ‘Living in Afghanistan is impossible. Every day, every week there are bomb blasts, targets, criminal recourse. Even though Kabul is the capital city it is not safe.’

On leaving Afghanistan: ‘People wanted us… other people warned us of this so we escaped’. Friends of Sharifa’s let them know that bad people were coming for her and her husband. They fled in the night to Bamyan. She thought they would be safe there, but again they had to flee, this time at 4am to Kandahar. From there they applied for a visa to Iran and once approved were able to stay for 1 month. Still they were being chased, so after contact with her family in Sweden they decided to go to Turkey because ‘the UN was there and the UN would keep us safe’. However, in Turkey they spent 6 months waiting to have their asylum application considered so crossed into Greece over the Evros river. She and her husband were put in prison for 4 days before arriving in Katsikas and have now been here for 2 months. Sharifa has been told their interview for asylum will be in March 2020 so until then,they will stay in Katsikas camp.

On her future: ‘I had planned my future very well, but because of this situation I can’t.’ She hopes to reunite with her family in Sweden and finish her medical degree to become a doctor. ‘If there is an opportunity to study I will.’

On RSE: ‘RSE is so great – especially for me – we are so thankful for you, for supporting refugees. I like to come to the market everyday to see the volunteers’.

Because Sharifa’s English is so exemplary she is often a translator for the camp. Many people ask her to accompany them to the hospital so she can translate, especially the medical jargon. ‘Sometimes the people ask for help. I like to help them because I see they are not being welcomed here (in Greece).’