9-year-old Zainab Nabawi, a newcomer from Afghanistan, squinted within the solar as she talked about her life in Canada.
“I can go to high school. It’s secure right here,” stated the grade 4 scholar who had no entry to schooling, following the Taliban’s return to energy in August, 2021 earlier than she got here to Canada final summer season.
Nabawi and her sister had been amongst about 300 individuals who gathered in Richmond Hill on Mom’s Day at an out of doors occasion held to spotlight the plight of ladies in Afghanistan.
“The issues they’ve seen is incomparable to what we’ve seen … they’ve seen members of the family blasted, blown up, kidnapped,” stated Zeeshan Mawji, head of procurement for the non-profit group Salaam Basis.
Mawji, one of many organizers of the Mom’s Day occasion, stated whereas meals, clothes and housing are important for newcomers, psychological well being assets should be prioritized.
“Think about coming from that and having to start out an entire new life in an entire new nation. They’ve quite a lot of trauma,” she stated.
Salaam Basis and a number of other different Richmond Hill-based organizations — together with Hazara Girls Group and Who’s Hussain — that present housing, schooling and job assist for Afghan immigrants got here collectively to carry the Sunday celebration at Richmond Inexperienced Sports activities Centre & Park.
The Mom’s Day occasion particularly targeted on the Hazara group, an ethno-religious minority group dealing with elevated assaults because the Taliban took over.
“We co-ordinated with different organizations to assist the Hazara group as a result of they’ve particular wants, as they’re being discriminated in opposition to and persecuted,” stated Halima Bahman, co-founder of Hazara Girls group. “They want specialised assist.”
Having fled the Taliban in 1998 over violent assaults in opposition to the Hazara, Bahman skilled trauma and persecution first-hand.
She stated that’s why she’s made it her life’s mission to assist others, particularly the Hazara group.
Throughout Sunday’s occasion, psychological well being staff had been on-site to supply assist with trauma counselling by one-on-one discussions, and provided avenues to proceed ongoing remedy and assist.
There are numerous points to Canadian life that shall be a large adjustment for the newcomers, stated Mawji, corresponding to entry to education, which many ladies have been denied.
“Entry to high school and schooling is a big privilege. To (be capable to) go someplace the place they’re secure with out the Taliban attacking them and having ladies be educators, it’s a giant factor,” Mawji stated.
Occasion volunteer Suhaila Akbarzada arrived in Canada with three youngsters in 2017, having accomplished a Grade 4 degree of schooling. Now, she’s a dental assistant and credit Canada for the alternatives she’s been afforded.
“I need to obtain extra and assist my folks to make my nation happy with me,” she stated. “I need to inform my folks about their choices. Canada may give quite a lot of alternative, however you need to be bold. We’ve got to provide again.”
Transferring ahead, Bahman stated the federal government can present extra assist and stand with the Hazara group, particularly after the bombing of a woman’s faculty in September, 2022.
Studying in regards to the Hazara and the persecution they’ve endured will enable Canadians to higher perceive their plight, stated Bahman.
“Present them the love and assist they’ve been lacking from Afghanistan,” she stated. “We need to present them, this isn’t Afghanistan. They are often valued as a human being. There may be price for you as a human being.”
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