Ramadan

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Kabul

Will I make it back home today?

2018

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A very happy Sunday!!

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Guys…I don’t know how to thank you all enough for your support for Arash.

After I shared his story on Friday he (and I) were overwhelmed by all your comments and love.

He read them all.

This community is amazing and powerful and keeps people like me (working within this crisis) and people like Arash (caught up in this crisis) looking forward with hope.

This is Arash looking very proud of the breakfast of Afghan spicy eggs he cooked for all of us

Feeling so happy this Sunday!

THANK YOU GUYS
#theworldwidetribe

Welcome home, Arash!

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My family has been going through something pretty difficult recently…

I haven’t wanted to share it on social media whilst we were in the midst of it, but finally we are out the other side, so it feels right…

This is my little brother Arash.

My parents started fostering him a year ago now and he has well and truly become part of the family.

Arash is 16. He’s from Afghanistan but left his country after his father and brother were killed by the Taliban. He doesn’t know whether his mum is alive or dead.

He had a crazy journey to get here, during which his boat capsized as he crossed the Med and he was pulled from the water unconscious.

He lived in the Calais Jungle for a while and eventually made it to the UK.

Here, he has been going to college, learning English and doing all the normal things a 16 year old boy does..

But by night, he struggles to sleep.

He has had something huge looming over him since the day he arrived here…

His Asylum.

As much as Arash threw himself into life in the UK, the fear of being sent back to Afghanistan held him back in every way.

The process took so long he felt like he was in limbo. He did his best to continue as normal but he was plagued by nightmares, panic attacks and post traumatic stress.

After over a year of waiting, last month he finally received a verdict from the UK Home Office…

His claim for Asylum had been denied.

The letter stated that Arash would be deported to Kabul, Afghanistan on the 1st November.

We were all completely shocked.

How could they send him back to Afghanistan where he had noone and nothing but fear for his life.

Whilst here he has a loving family – a mum, a dad, siblings, friends and a future.

And Arash…?

Well Arash was devastated.

Absolutely, earth-shatteringly devastated.

He couldn’t eat. He couldn’t sleep.

He was crushed.

We immediately launched an appeal, and a week or so later our whole family was in court, fighting for Arash.

My mum stood up to testify. To try and put across that Arash was too vulnerable to live alone in the UK, let alone back in Afghanistan.

What followed was two weeks of waiting for us, and two weeks of absolute internal torture for Arash….

Until yesterday…when he got home from college, to a letter…

A letter from the Home Office.

He sat with my mum to open it, and they struggled to find the words they were looking for amongst the pages of writing….

The appeal was successful.

Arash has been granted asylum.

We couldn’t believe it.

He couldn’t believe it.

My mum said he instantly looked like a new person.

Like a weight had been lifted and like he could breathe again.

Finally.

Finally Arash can start his life.

Finally we can get to know him for who he really is, without the constant, crushing fear at the pit of his stomach.

Finally he has reached the light at the end of a long tunnel. A tunnel so dark most of us could not even imagine it.

Finally he can smile again.

This is a smile I hardly recognise. The smile of a new boy. A new life. A new hope.

Welcome home Arash.

We love you so much.

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I am sharing this story because Arash is one of many boys living this reality. Many young boys are being deported from the UK to Afghanistan, to face great danger alone.

Sending teenage boys back to Afghanistan like this is a breach of human rights, and it is important that we all know that this is happening in our country.

Please SHARE this story to raise awareness about the thousands of boys just like Arash.

To DONATE to our continued work supporting refugees across Europe:

This isn’t charity, it’s human connection

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summed up in this beautiful photograph taken by the wonderful TribeTurkey.

 

To donate to our continued work supporting refugee’s:

Thank you Marina!

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A few months ago I posted about an Afghan lady who recently lost her daughter.

Her story is a super tragic one, and after I met her in a camp in Greece, I knew I had to do SOMETHING to help her.

So I wrote about her, and something amazing happened…

Even though they had never met, a girl who read the post on Instagram, Marina, was so touched by this lady’s story that she took it upon herself to set up a private fundraiser.

She raised over £100, and while I was in Greece recently, I was able to pass the money on to the lady.

This is me showing her and her daughters the post I wrote and the details of the fundraiser.

She was so grateful that she cried, then invited us to her makeshift home in the camp for lunch.

She shared the little food she and her kids had with us and her 9-year-old daughter translated for us so we could chat a little.

I want to thank Marina for taking the initiative to take this action.

Being able to go back to this lady and actually do SOMETHING was amazing.

Although it doesn’t take away from her grief, it makes life a little easier. Even for a short while.

Today, do like Marina and think about what you could do.

It doesn’t need to be in another country or region, you could do it from the safety of your own home, your desk, your train journey home.

We can all do something 

To donate to our continued work with refugee’s, please click on the link below:

The result of teamwork and generosity!

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This picture might not look like a lot, but it’s the incredible result of a lot of teamwork and generosity!

These meals were cooked by the Yazidi community at Lifting Hands International, an inclusive safe space recently opened in Greece.

The community used the kitchen supplies donated by the, now closed, EKO space, to prepare 120 meals for the families living there. This was the first time they were able to come together and cook food for themselves, and they were so happy to do so!

Our friends at Lifting Hands International shared this message with us:

“The families had so much fun coming together to play games and eat.

You brought so much joy – thank you.

Everyone is so excited to make big meals for themselves!”

We’re so happy to be able to make things like this happen.

To have played a part in helping the community regain some of their independence is really special, and we can’t wait to see this Lifting Hands project grow!

 

To donate to our work, click on the link below: