From left to right Kambiz Sakhra, Sarah Hofyani, Baktash Musawer Walantina Sakhra, Mansoor Hoffyani and Abdul Haleem Rahmani in the back | photo: Anna Ek

Afghan Refugees gathering money for SCA

“ I close my eyes, and for a moment I feel back in my own home village – the high mountains, green waving fields, the fresh climate and my heart smiles when it looks at the people of Afghanistan. The fact that I am living in a modern country like Sweden provided with social welfare will not change my perception that my country is centuries behind this one. Here is any convenience one can imagine. To demolish the enormous difference is my vision and of course it cannot be done overnight.” Said Mansour Hofyani.

A group of Afghan volunteer youths who live as refugees in Sweden are collecting money to donate to the Afghans through Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, despite their tough engagement with their studies and some other life business. During my official trip to SCA office in Stockholm, I was introduced with some Afghan youths like Kambiz Sakhra, Valentina Sakhra, Mansour Hofyani, Sara Hofyani and Abdul Haleem Rahmani who are member of the local committee of Stockholm.

They are the committed youths who conduct various activities in order to collect money for the vulnerable Afghans.

Cleaning the roads and cities: These youths clean the garbage on roads and cities, contracting a cash for work sort of engagement with the local municipalities in order to earn money. Then they transfer the money to the Swedish Committee to support the deserved and vulnerable Afghans.

Cultural events for the newly arrived Afghans in Sweden: A lot of Afghan refugees who are under 18 live with the Swedish families as their guardians. These Afghans often miss the Afghan food, music, entertainment and other cultural connected activities, which they do not easily access to. So the group of volunteer youths contacts and encourage these Swedish guardians asking for thier support to these refugees to participate in the cultural programs and pay the costs. By attending these programs, the Afghan refugees can get together under one roof, talk to each other, eat Afghan meals and listen to Afghan music so that they mentally get relaxed. In return their guardians pay some fees to the group.

Sport competitions for Afghans: This group of Afghan volunteers also launch some sport events and competitions for the Afghans supported by the Swedish families. For example, the refugees play football twice a week which they have to pay certain amount for.

Ms. Valentina Sakhra a member of this group has recently graduated from school and makes great effort to succeed in taking admission in Medical Science and carry on her higher education in this field. However, Ms. Valentina makes some time for such humanitarian and volunteer work.

“For me to involve myself in such humanitarian work has two values. First, we help those Afghan refugees who have newly arrived here and yet they have not accustomed to the Swedish culture and tradition. We have witnessed many suicide cases of Afghan refugees whose asylum cases took longer or got rejected. So in these cultural events, we want to offer them a sense of the feeling that they are close to other Afghans and thus, helping them relief their stress. Second, I want to collect money and aid for my poor and deserved countrymen especially the kids in Afghanistan, so that they get access to some of their basic rights such as proper education, health facilities and so on.” Said Ms. Valentina Sakhra.

Sara Hofyani, another member of this group is currently a student of biomedical Science heading to start medicine studies next year. She also works as translator for Afghan refugees in Sweden. Plus, she is working for a private company called IKEA. Despite her busy life, she tries to dedicate some time performing volunteer works aiming to gather money for Afghans.

“I feel very sad that I am living abroad and I can’t help building up the country as it is our responsibility to contribute to development and positive changes. However, there are many Afghans living abroad, who can jointly do something for the better of Afghanistan from outside. I see it as my duty to do whatever I can for my beautiful Afghanistan and although it’s not much but if we all do these little things it will be a big difference at the end. The first major step we should take is to educate all our children and that is what I like about SCA because I believe that a more educated nation will bring positive changes. This battle is for a better Afghanistan which is very important for me to be a part of and I truly respect and stand with those who are willing to help us.” Said Sara Hofyani