It's Peaceful Here


Refugee stories - Abdul Karim and Soraya Akbari from Afghanistan
"It's very peaceful here," is how couple Abdul Karim and Soraya Akbari describe Canada.

Coming from war-torn Afghanistan, via equally volatile Pakistan, the Canadian tranquility holds them in awe. Escaping from an oppressive Afghan regime, they found life as much of a struggle in neighboring Pakistan where they had taken shelter.

"It was the Taliban governance that made us flee Afghanistan. Things were no better in Pakistan, where we moved to, as we were ill-treated.
Though we used to have all the necessary identification documents, we would be constantly harassed by the authorities, who would seek illegal monetary gratification."


Almost a decade of uncertainty and tons of paperwork, the couple finally landed with their kids in Montreal, Canada and moved over to Calgary later. The family comprises of five loving kids. “For us sometimes conveying and articulating in English becomes an issue but we are very happy for our children, who seem to have fully integrated and are fluent in English,” they say.
Abdul and Soraya both are upgrading their English speaking skills. “After years of struggle, I don’t think we have enough time or resources for academic upgradations though we do have plans to start our own independent small business.”  
While Soraya aims to be a hairdresser, Abdul plans to invest in a thrift store. 
Fact File: Afghanistan
Afghanistan map

Before the recent upsurge in violence in Syria and Iraq, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that Afghanistan remained the world’s top producer of refugees for the 32nd year in a row. As of July 2014, the UNHCR estimated there are approximately 7,00,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan. Violence has been the major factor in involuntary population movements among Afghans. The vast majority of Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan and Iran, where they face an uncertain political situation, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Iranian officials, for example, deport thousands of undocumented Afghans without allowing them the opportunity to demonstrate a legal right to remain in Iran, or to lodge an asylum application. (Source: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs)